NAIROBI, Kenya – Takfiri al-Shabab terrorists have decapitated at least nine people in an attack on a pair of villages in southeastern Kenya, near the border with restive Somalia, as concerns grew that the group had taken up a bloody new strategy.
The deadly attack was carried out overnight on Saturday, when some 15 suspected al-Qaeda-linked militants stormed the two neighboring villages of Jima and Poromoko in the Kenyan coastal district of Lamu, near the Somali border, gathering their civilian victims together before beheading them, Kenyan local police and officials said.
According to villagers, most of the heavily armed assailants appeared to be ethnic Somalis, Press TV reported. The victims “were slaughtered like chickens,” said a villager, who witnessed the incident.
Residents of the two villages had called the police a day earlier, reporting the presence of al-Shabab militants in the area, but no police forces were apparently deployed in the area to boost security.
The Somalia-based terror group has for years conducted deadly cross-border attacks in Kenya but it has rarely decapitated the victims.
The Saturday attack was carried out in the vicinity of Pandanguo village, where terrorists killed three police officers in an attack on a police post in Lamu on Friday.
The al-Shabab group has vowed retribution on Kenya for deploying troops in 2011 to Somalia to help its fragile central government curb the terror group, which last year became the deadliest terrorist organization in Africa.
In recent months, the terror group has increased attacks, using homemade explosive devices, killing at least 46 people in Lamu and Mandera districts.
Beheadings by al-Shabab have been rare in Kenya, where the extremist group has carried out dozens of deadly attacks over the years. The East African country has seen an increase in attacks claimed by al-Shabab in recent weeks, posing a security threat ahead of next month’s presidential election.