Seven people including a policeman shot dead in gun battles when a gang attacked Kenyan coastal casino, police says

At least seven people including a policeman were shot dead in gun battles in the early hours today when a gang attacked a Kenyan coastal casino, police said.

Regional police chief Aggrey Adoli told AFP 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.

Four policemen had been at the casino when the raid took place.

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.