An Italian volunteer along Kenya’s coast have been kidnapped by gunmen, police said on Wednesday.
Five people were attacked by the gunmen who shot indiscriminately at around 8 p.m. in the Chakama trading centre in the county of Kilifi, said the country’s police chief, Joseph Bonnet.
Bonnet identified the volunteer as a 23-year-old Italian woman. The motive for the attack isn’t clear and the identity of the attackers is not yet known, he said. Somali-based Islamic militants have been blamed in the past for a spate of kidnappings of foreigners along Kenya’s coast. Kenya said it was prompted to send troops to Somalia in 2011 to fight al-Shabab militants after the kidnappings of four foreigners.
One of the foreigners, a cancer-stricken quadriplegic Frenchwoman kidnapped off a Kenyan resort island, died in captivity in Somalia. The 66-year-old, wheelchair-bound woman suffered from cancer and required special medications several times a day, medicine her captors did not take with them.
Faced with a crashing tourism industry following the kidnappings, Kenya deployed troops to Somalia later in October to fight the militants. Al-Shabab has since carried out numerous attacks in Kenya, saying it is vengeance for the country’s troop presence in Somalia.