(eTN) – Suspected members of the banned MRC, a coastal terrorist group seeking to break away from the Republic of Kenya and form their own radical Islamic state, attacked an Italian-owned casino last night in the wee hours.
According to a source in Malindi, six of the attackers were killed by security forces alerted from guards and guests, although two policemen sadly also died in the hail of bullets flying.
The source was unable to confirm if any of the guests of the casino were injured, though from other sources in Mombasa the word is that at least some were harmed when the machete and gun wielding thugs stormed the premises. A police spokesperson in Mombasa, some 100 kilometers south of Malindi, stated that about 50 suspected MRC members were involved in the raid.
There was immediate suspicion among the mainly Italian expatriates living in Malindi, that the attempt to rob and kill was aimed to grab a large sum of money to finance the terror group’s activities and previous shootings of two Italians during the past weeks which are now also being looked upon once again in the context of MRC targeted violence.
A major policy and security operation is reportedly underway, combing the entire coast for the suspected MRC members, though the group has been in the cross hairs of Kenya’s security organizations for a while now, and several of the outlawed group’s leaders are already in custody awaiting trial.
Kenya’s tourism industry is undergoing a challenging period as a result of economic hard times in key European markets, but Malindi, with this negative publicity, appears now double hard hit, now also under scrutiny for the two past shootings of Italians and now this major incident, so shortly before Easter, when in particular a major culture festival is due to be held in Malindi for which thousands of Kenyans are expected to visit the coastal town.
One regular tourism source from Mombasa was unwilling to comment, only saying: “Yes we heard the news but need more information before we can comment. This looks like a big thing, and we need to consult first about the implications with our colleagues in Malindi. We need to get the facts right first.”