Photo taken on June 16, 2014 shows burnt government vehicles at the police station of Mpeketoni, a coastal town in Kenya. At least 15 people, including a policeman, were killed Monday night in fresh attacks in Kenya's coastal town of Mpeketoni, officials and police said Tuesday. (Xinhua/Fred Mutune)
MOMBASA, Kenya, June 17 (Xinhua) -- At least 15 people, including a policeman, were killed Monday night in fresh attacks in Kenya's coastal town of Mpeketoni, officials and police said Tuesday.
The fresh killings took place in Poromoko village in Lamu County, the same region where 48 people were killed by gunmen Sunday night, and as more reinforcements were sent to the area.
Lamu County Commissioner Stephen Ikua confirmed the attacks, saying the gunmen attacked villagers and set houses on fire.
"We have received reports of fresh attacks and we have sent a contingent of police officers to establish the number of casualties and nature of attack," Ikua told Xinhua on Tuesday.
The victims were shot dead at close range by the gunmen believed to members of the Al-Shabaab militant group.
The attack came despite a government reassurance it would protect citizens and apprehend the assailants.
Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for both attacks.
The insurgent group said on its radio it carried out fresh attacks in Mpeketoni and killed more than 20 people, including police, and burned houses in the area.
"Mujahideen conducted an operation in villages near Mpeketoni last night killing 20 enemies, mostly soldiers," Al-Shabaab's Andalus radio reported.
It warned of more attacks and said they were a reprisal for the Kenyan government's oppression of Muslims in the country through coercion, intimidation and extrajudicial killings of Muslim scholars.
Police spokesperson Zipporah Mboroki confirmed reports of the recovery of more bodies.
"I can confirm there were fresh attacks in Mpeketoni last night but I am unable to give you the exact number of casualties," he told Xinhua by telephone.
No arrests had been made so far following the attacks.
Top security chiefs led by Interior Minister Joseph Ole Lenku were in the area, where more security forces had been deployed.
Analysts said the latest attacks, the deadliest since the Westgate attack in which 68 people were killed, were a blow to Kenya's already troubled tourism, which relies heavily on foreign visitors who often combine safaris with beach holidays in Mombasa.
The violence came as the east African nation tightened security amid terrorism threats posed by Al-Shabaab, which has been blamed for grenade and landmine attacks.
Kenya has suffered bus, church and market explosions following a cross-border offensive by Kenyan troops in neighboring Somalia last year after the Al-Shabaab staged a series of attacks along the Kenyan coast.