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Kenyan police shot dead three suspected militants linked to a separatist movement, the latest outbreak of violence in Kenya's popular tourist coastal region, police said on Monday.
“Three suspects were shot dead in the confrontation, while four have been arrested,” regional police chief Aggrey Adoli said of the overnight clash on Sunday in a district of Mombasa, Kenya's main port.
The men were linked to the Mombasa Republican Council (MRC), which has called for the separation of the coastal region from the rest of Kenya, police said.
Police raided the suspects' house after reports the men were plotting to attack a police station, local police commander Julius Wanjohi said.
“We acted on a tip-off that the attackers were going to raid a police post... they resisted arrest and tried to attack the police, and that is when the three were shot dead,” he said.
The MRC was outlawed in 2010, a decision that was overturned earlier in 2012 by a court ruling.
The Kenyan authorities, who continue to say the group is guilty of criminal activities and who want to outlaw it once again, had most of its top officials arrested in October.
Kenya's coast has been hit by a string of attacks in recent months, with the MRC as well as a separate Islamist movement clashing with security forces.
It has raised fears that political unrest could mar elections which are due to take place in March, five years after deadly post-poll killings shattered Kenya's image as a beacon of regional stability.
Tourism on the Kenyan coast, a major pillar of the area's economy, has been badly dented, with visitors scared off first by a spate of kidnappings of foreigners in 2011 and then by violence attributed to Islamists. - Sapa-AFP