Three women were killed while staging a knife and firebomb attack on the main police station in the Kenyan city of Mombasa on Sunday in what officers said was “an apparent terror attack.”
Mombasa County police chief Peterson Maelo said the three women had entered the city’s busiest police station in mid-morning saying they wanted to report a stolen phone.
“In the process one hurled a petrol bomb at the report office as the others confronted two officers and stabbed them,” Maelo told journalists at the scene.
“All the three attackers have been killed and the two police officers have been rushed to hospital,” he said, terming it “an apparent terror attack.”
The fire was put out and the station sealed off by heavily armed police officers as the probe gets under way.
A senior police officer in Mombasa who asked not to be identified said earlier that the three were in Muslim dress.
“This is terrorism, they were definitely on a mission,” he said.
A witness named Saumu said “the women were shouting saying God Is Great, Allahu Akbar then one of them threw something at the cops and that’s when I ran away.”
Kenya has been regularly targeted by the Somalia-based Shabaab, East Africa’s long-time Al-Qaeda branch, which is fighting to overthrow the internationally-backed government in Mogadishu, protected by 22 000 African Union troops, including Kenyan soldiers.
The Somali-led insurgents have staged repeated attacks in Kenya, including the killing of at least 67 people at Nairobi’s Westgate Mall in 2013 and the massacre of 148 people at a university in Garissa in April 2015.