(eTN) – Two armed attacks, using guns and machetes, on the Italian holiday community in Malindi, have raised the alarm of targeted violence against this Indian Ocean municipality’s most numerous visitors.
The Italian Foreign Ministry issued a statement expressing their concern over the safety of their nationals in Kenya today following the admission of an Italian man to a hospital with a gunshot wound, which was described by a source in Mombasa as “not critical.” A gang comprising at least 6 hooded gangsters attacked several Italian-owned villas in Malindi and injured several of the tourists before making off with valuables, money, cameras, computers, and jewelry.
Two weeks ago an Italian woman was shot in the throat by the violence-prone attackers, thought to be the same gang, reportedly without giving any cause for the action, while again others were also reportedly injured.
The Italian community has demanded increased police patrols and stricter measures by the local police to bring the culprits to book. Said an Italian source based in Mombasa but in contact with the compatriots in Malindi, and on condition of anonymity: “They think we are all rich like Berlusconi or Briatore. Many of us Italians enjoy the climate and otherwise friendly people in Malindi. We invested our life savings to build ourselves homes here, and now we had two of ours shot in the space of two weeks and others injured. Maybe the police are more interested in other issues but security is a key for tourism.
“If such attacks continue, Kenya will get a very bad reputation in Italy and already numbers are down. We are getting too many calls from back in Italy to ask if it is safe to come to Kenya, and the elections next month will make it more difficult for many to travel here. Targeting us foreigners, if specifically Italians or just by coincidence, is a very bad thing and Kenya government should not let it happen.
“Two weeks ago police promised better security and not much has happened, so more attacks took place and another Italian was shot. The press reports in Italy will be very negative now for sure.”
No official statement was available from government sources by the time of filing this article.