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Police, army exchange fire with raiders after 20 killed in Mombasa,0311

August 15, 1997

MOMBASA, Kenya (AP) _ Security forces exchanged fire Friday with raiders they were pursuing after an attack south of Mombasa in which 14 people were killed, a senior police officer said.

The exchange occurred when a combined force of police, sailors and soldiers combed a forest about 12 miles from Likoni neighborhood, according to provincial police chief Francis Gichuki. The raiders, who were not further identified, fled into the bush.

The area where as many as 100 raiders struck Wednesday night is on the mainland, just south of Mombasa Island at the head of a strip of Indian Ocean beach that is one of Kenya’s major tourist areas.

The attackers torched Likoni police installations, dozens of roadside stalls, a church and cars. Police arrested 43 people.

In the capital, Nairobi, Assistant Police Commissioner Peter Kimanthi put the official death toll at seven policemen and seven civilians, including five of the attackers. He said another civilian, apparently a raider, was killed Friday.

``Those are the bodies we have in the mortuary,″ he said. ``If there are other bodies in the bush, we don’t know about them.″

Kimanthi denied reports that any police officers were missing or had been abducted. He said it was hard to speculate on the attackers’ motives.

``At this point, we do not believe it was ethnic. It was very well organized. Those involved are Kenyans,″ he said.

Fearing a resurgence of violence, thousands of residents fled their homes, carrying household goods.

Mombasa is the gateway to resorts on the Indian Ocean coast. Violence there unsettles the East African nation’s tourist industry.

Armed robberies are on the increase throughout Kenya, but attacks on police stations are rare.

Update hourly