Suspected members of Somalia’s Al-Shabaab Islamist group beheaded at least three men on Thursday night in an attack on a Kenyan village, 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.
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,” Mr 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.”
Mr Kitiyo said he had dispatched a contingent of police officers to pursue the attackers.
The gunmen struck at around 12.30am Friday as the villagers slept, according to witnesses.
Armed to the teeth, they targeted men, sparing women and children, villagers told theNation.
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.
They disappeared into the bushes as has been their tactic in past attacks.
The government believes the militants have set up hideouts in the expansive and dense Boni Forest and a multi-agency operation is ongoing to flush them out.
The militants fighting to impose an Islamic caliphate on Somalia have also been planting explosives on roads in Lamu, Garissa, Mandera, Tana River, Wajir and other parts of Coast and northern Kenya to avenge deployment of Kenyan military to the war-wracked country.
Last week, a roadside bomb killed five police officers in Ijara, Garissa County.
The Kenya Defence Forces are part of the African Union mission that has routed the militants out of major towns across the Horn of Africa state.