NAIROBI: At least seven people including a policeman were shot dead in gun battles in the early hours Thursday when a gang attacked a Kenyan coastal casino, police said.
"Six of the attackers were shot dead but they also killed one of our police officers," regional police chief Aggrey Adoli told.
Adoli said that a large gang -- who he said were members of a coastal separatist group, the Mombasa Republic Council (MRC) -- had attacked a casino in Malindi, a popular Indian Ocean tourist resort.
"There was a raid by MRC attackers at Malindi casino earlier this morning at 2.00 am by a gang of about 100," Adoli said, adding that four policemen had been at the casino when the raid took place.
"There was a fierce shoot-out outside the casino, because they wanted to try to get in but they were repulsed," Adoli said. Officers had arrested four people, he added.
"We have a contingent of police officers looking for the attackers, we suspect they are hiding in forests around Malindi."
Malindi, some 95 kilometres (60 miles) north of Kenya's main port city of Mombasa, is home is several top end international tourist resorts.
Tourism is a key part of Kenya's economy, and the coastal region is expected to be especially busy over the upcoming Easter weekend.