This is the report of HAKI Africa’s human rights fact finding team to Mpeketoni following the chilling spate of killings that occurred during the month of June 2014. The objective of the report besides detailing what occurred during the horrific attacks, is to highlight human rights violations that occurred and suggest what needs to be done to avert future similar incidences.
In doing so, it details first hand testimonies of victims, witnesses and survivors of the unsettling carnage that in the end left tens of people brutally murdered, property worth millions of shillings destroyed and hundreds of people displaced from their homes, communities and towns.
The report also includes views of local government security officials who were interviewed by the human rights documentation team to ascertain the official position of the government on what happened and the current state of affairs on the ground.
The attack in Lamu was well planned, orchestrated and politically motivated ethnic violence against a Kenyan community with the intention of profiling and evicting them for political reasons… this therefore was not an Al Shabaab terror attack.
Attack One: 15th June 2014
At around 8.45pm on Sunday, 15th June 2014, the otherwise quiet and calm of Mpeketoni town in the north Coast of Kenya was suddenly and without warning intercepted by heavy sounds of gunfire, burning and killings. Heavily armed men who media reports estimated to be around 40 were running loose in the night, slaughtering people, torching cars and burning down houses. The armed men apparently communicating in Somali and Swahili, were on a mission – to kill as many as possible and destroy almost everything that they came across. The attackers, who were in army clothing and had covered their faces, were at it for hours and went from house to house, business to business, police station to hotels, killing those they found, burning cars, homes and destroying business properties including hotels and a petrol station.
In what appears to have been a well coordinated attack, the town was literally burnt down to ashes as the attackers went by their actions without challenge from the police or any other security authority. The attack simultaneously went on in the nearby Kibaoni village where more were killed and property destroyed. Witnesses claim that the attackers were speaking through radio calls and also taking pictures of the carnage they were causing. All this bloodshed and wanton destruction occurred despite the town hosting a fully fledged police station, an administration police post and an army barracks just 30 kilometres away from the town. In the wake of this particular attack, 49 people including one police man, laid dead, 3 were critically injured, 37 cars burnt, 8 motorcycles torched, 20 buildings set ablaze and dozens of homes and businesses destroyed by fire.
Attack Two: 16th June 2014
While the country was still reeling from the shock of the horrifying Sunday night attack, another attack occurred the following night on Monday 16th June 2014 at the small village of Maporomoko not very far from Mpeketoni. The description of the attackers again revealed that they were in army uniform and armed with guns and knives. It is still not clear how many they were but witnesses confirmed that the attackers were more than 10.
The attack took place in the night and lasted for a while. In the next morning, 9 bodies were lying dead with deep cuts and gashes on different parts of the body. A day later, two more bodies were found at a nearby road (Pangani Witu Road). After this second attack, no one felt safe anymore and hundreds started fleeing their homes and headed for camps in the hope that they will find security from what appeared to be merciless mercenaries out to wipe them out.
Attack Three: 24th June 2014
Eight days later, as the situation was just beginning to slowly return to normalcy, in the night of 24th June, a village near Witu town known as Maleli was under attack. The attackers ransacked houses, picked their victims and walked them into the forest where they slaughtered five of them in cold blood. Following is the testimony of one of the survivors: