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Separate Attacks In Uganda, Kenya Leave Dozens Dead

Armed police walk past a truck set on fire by attackers who raided Gamba police station at the Kenyan coast on Sunday.
Joseph Okanga
Armed police walk past a truck set on fire by attackers who raided Gamba police station at the Kenyan coast on Sunday.

This post was updated at 12:30 p.m. ET.

At least 17 people were killed in Uganda in an attack by armed gunmen on three police stations in an area of the country that had once been the focus of an Islamic insurgency.

Meanwhile, the al-Qaida-linked group al-Shabab has claimed responsibility for attacking on two coastal villages in Kenya that left at least 22 people dead. NPR's Gregory Warner, reporting from Nairobi, says the deaths in Kenya include one Russian tourist.

In Uganda, Paddy Ankunda, spokesman for the Uganda People's Defence forces, was quoted by Reuters as saying that 41 of the attackers were killed and another 12 were captured during the attacks Saturday evening.

Reuters reports: "The gunmen, from a local militia, had no connection to the Islamist rebel group ADF-NALU, which preyed on the local population in the late 1990s and early 2000s before it was defeated and forced to flee into the jungles of neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo."

The Associated Press quotes Fred Enanga, the Ugandan police spokesman, in a statement early Sunday as saying that apparently coordinated attacks were carried about by "thugs" armed with guns, spears and machetes.

The AP says:

"The attacks took place in Kasese, Ntoroko and Bundibugyo, three Ugandan districts with a history of anti-government insurgency and tensions among rival tribes competing for limited natural resources in a mountainous region of western Uganda.

"Bundibugyo, where the most deadly attacks took place, is a frontier district located more than 300 kilometers (about 186 miles) from Kampala, the Ugandan capital."

On the Kenya attack, Reuters says:

"According to the Lamu county commissioner Njenga Miiri, a group of about 15 gunmen raided the Malamandi village of Hindi and started shooting at residents.

"Kenya Red Cross chief Abbas Gulet has said that the Somalian group al-Shabab have already claimed responsibility for the fresh attacks."

"They went around shooting at people and villages indiscriminately," said Abdallah Shahasi, a senior official for the Hindi area.

It wasn't clear how many died at Hindi and how many in a separate attack farther south, in Gamba.

Warner reports that "it was a well-coordinated attack with masked gunmen firing indiscriminately and then suddenly driving away.

"In the same north coast region of Kenya where 65 people were killed last month.

"Terrorism experts noted the hallmarks of an ambush by Somali militants who quickly claimed responsibility.

"But officials in the Kenyan government claimed as last month that not terrorists but local politicians are behind this violence."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Scott Neuman is a reporter and editor, working mainly on breaking news for NPR's digital and radio platforms.
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