Sunday, July 6, 2014 11:28 am
MOMBASA (AFP) – A Russian tourist was shot and killed while touring a historical site in Kenya’s port city of Mombasa on Sunday, police said.
Kenya’s deputy police chief said the murder was being treated as “normal thuggery” and not a terrorist incident, explaining the woman was shot after resisting an attempt to steal her camera.
“It is unfortunate the lady who was shot has succumbed to injuries,” Mombasa’s deputy divisional police chief Tom Okoth said, confirming the woman’s nationality as Russian.
According to police, the tourist was touring Fort Jesus — a 16th century Portuguese-built fort and a UNESCO World Heritage Site — with two other people when three gunmen opened fire and grabbed a bag containing cameras, phones and other personal belongings.
Okoth said police were searching for the attackers and an investigation had been launched.
“We are treating the incident as a normal thuggery incident,” Deputy Inspector General of Police Grace Kaindi told reporters in Nairobi.
“She was shot during a confrontation with thugs who wanted to steal her camera,” she added. “The attackers are being pursued.”
Mombasa has been the scene of worsening unrest in recent months with a string of shootings and bombings blamed on Somalia’s Shebab rebels or local supporters.
The shooting occurred after at least 18 people were killed in overnight attacks more than 300 kilometres (190 miles) up the coast in the Lamu region. The Shebab claimed those killings.
Last month the Shebab, which has carried out a number of attacks on Kenyan soil in retaliation for Nairobi’s military intervention in Somalia, warned foreign tourists to stay out of Kenya.
“Kenya is now officially a war zone and as such any tourists visiting the country do so at their own peril,” the group said in a statement less than three weeks ago.
But Kenya also suffers from high levels of violent crime and robberies.
In May several countries stepped up their warnings to travellers, with Britain, France, Australia and the United States telling their citizens to avoid all but essential travel to Mombasa.