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New attack in Kenya leaves 15 dead

SOMALI-LINKED Islamist militants have killed at least 15 people and torched houses in a second night of attacks on Kenya's coast, a day after an assault on a town left almost 50 dead.

Armed men went door to door hours before dawn in Poromoko village, ordered people outside and made them recite the Islamic creed.

Somalia's al-Quaeda linked al Shabaab group claimed responsibility for the two days of attacks and said it would continue its campaign in the east African nation, whose tourist industry has been battered by the rise in militant violence.

The militant group has said it is punishing Kenya for sending troops to Somalia to confront its Islamist fighters.

The new attacks have fuelled mounting public criticism of the government for failing to do more to prevent a string of grenade and gun attacks on the coast and the capital.

Al Shabaab has declared Kenya a "war zone", telling tourists to leave the country or stay "at their own peril".

Kenya said it would not withdraw its forces from Somalia and promised to track down the gunmen.

"These attacks are unfortunate and the perpetrators must be held accountable," Interior Minister Joseph Ole Lenku told residents in Mpeketoni, the coastal town attacked the previous night, where he was jeered by locals.

The minister said 15 people died in yesterday's assault.

One angry resident in Mpeketoni said: "This government is full of talk and no action. They keep saying the country is safe, and we keep on suffering in the hands of terrorists."

Mr Ole Lenku has defended his government's security efforts, but many Kenyans have publicly called for him and other top officials to be fired for security shortcomings, including failings during the four-day siege of the Westgate shopping centre in Nairobi last year, where some soldiers involved were found to have looted the mall.

Kenya's tourist industry has been badly affected since the violence prompted Western nations to tighten travel advice for their citizens. Some hotels in the palm-fringed coastal region say they face closure.

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