MOMBASA, Kenya (Reuters) – Suspected members of Somalia’s al Shabaab Islamist group beheaded at least three men overnight in an attack on a Kenyan village, authorities said on Friday, a month after nine were killed in a similar way nearby.
“They were slaughtered. Their heads were cut off from the rest of their bodies,” said a police source, asking not to be named.
Police said four bodies had been found at Maleli village in Kenya’s coastal county of Lamu. Area county commissioner Gilbert Kitiyo said he was aware of three deaths.
“A group of armed suspects raided and killed three locals. All the three were men,” Kitiyo told Reuters by phone, adding the suspects set houses ablaze before disappearing into a nearby forest.
“We cannot speculate, but from previous attacks, the nature and style of this attack can only be associated with these al Shabaab criminals.”
In July suspected al Shabaab attackers fighters beheaded nine men in villages near Maleli, and killed three police officers in another attack in the area.
The al Qaeda-linked group aims to overthrow Somalia’s U.N.-backed government and impose its own strict interpretation of Islam. They have intensified attacks in Kenya since it sent troops into Somalia in 2011.
They have also claimed responsibility for a series of cross-border attacks in recent months, including a spate of roadside bombings targeting security forces.
Reporting by Joseph Akwiri; Editing by George Obulutsa and Andrew Roche