December 23, 2016 / 8:30 AM / a year ago

One dead after armed attackers raid Kenya police station on coast

MOMBASA, Kenya (Reuters) - Attackers armed with bows, arrows and machetes raided a coastal Kenyan police post early on Friday, leaving three officers wounded and one attacker dead, a government official said.

Around 10 suspects attacked Kombani police post in Kwale county, 20 km (12 miles) south of the port city of Mombasa, at around 3 a.m., Kwale county commissioner Kutswa Olaka said. Police shot back at the attackers, he said.

The identity of the gang is unclear.

Kombani is a stronghold of the banned Mombasa Republican Council (MRC), which seeks independence for Kenya’s coastal strip because it says the central government neglects and impoverishes the Coast region.

The MRC was blamed for a string of attacks on police stations on the coast that killed six police officers during the 2013 elections.

In September, a government official in the coastal city of Mombasa said the MRC was plotting to disrupt national elections scheduled for 2017.

But Olaka said the attackers might not be MRC.

“They were chanting ‘Allahu Akbar’ during the attack which is a bit confusing since that is synonymous with al Shabaab, but again the weapons used are more of those MRC are known to use, so we are still investigating, ” said Olaka.

Al Shabaab has launched frequent, deadly attacks in Kenya, including on the coast. They usually use firearms, but some intelligence reports allude to a possible change in tactics.

In September, police shot dead three Muslim women they said had attempted to stab a police officer and petrol bomb a Mombasa police station.

Amaq news agency, affiliated to Islamic State, claimed the attack had been carried out by their supporters.

Editing by Katharine Houreld and Alison Williams

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