Al-Shabab storms Kenyan village near Garissa

Yumbis, 70km north of city where 148 people were killed in university siege, raided by Somalia-based armed group.

Garissa families massacre Kenya
Last month's attack in Garissa was al-Shabab's deadliest yet on Kenyan soil [EPA]

The Somalia-based al-Shabab group has raided a village in northeastern Kenya, days after a similar operation in a nearby town.

A statement released by the Kenyan interior ministry on Friday said the al-Qaeda-affiliated armed group attacked the village of Yumbis, about 70km north of Garissa – the scene of last month’s bloody university siege.

“Security forces on Thursday evening thwarted an attempted attack at Yumbis village,” the statement said.

“Security forces swiftly mobilised and engaged the militants in a gun battle. No casualties were reported.”

Speaking to Al Jazeera from an unknown location, Abdulaziz Abu Mus’ab, al-Shabab’s spokesman for military operations, said the group’s fighters were in Yumbis for more than eight hours.

“The Mujahideen carried out an operation in Yumbis. This was part of our ongoing operations to free the Christian-occupied Muslim lands of Northern Frontier Districts [NFD]. The coward enemy ran away before our Mujahideen arrived. We spoke to the Muslim residents and left more than eight hours later.” Abu Mus’ab said.

“We will not rest or stop until NFD is free,” he added. 

NFD was previously the name of the Northeastern Kenya region, mostly inhabited by ethnic Somali Kenyans. 

Al Jazeera Correspondent: Not Yet Kenyan.

Black flag raised

A resident told Al Jazeera that masked al-Shabab fighters rounded up villagers and looked for non-Muslims. The fighters left after placing their black flag in every corner of the village, the resident, who did not want to be named for security reasons, added. 

On Tuesday more than 20 fighters from the group raided the town of Hulugho where they rounded up locals in a mosque and preached them for two hours before withdrawing.

Last month, four al-Shabab fighters killed 148 people, mostly students, in the siege of the university in the region’s commercial hub, Garissa. It was al-Shabab’s deadliest attack on Kenyan soil. 

In 2013 the group carried out a siege in the upmarket shopping mall of Westgate which lasted for four days and left at least 67 people dead in Nairobi.

The group has recently changed its demands of Kenya withdrawing its troops from Somalia and are now demanding non-Muslims leave Kenya’s northeastern region.

Follow Hamza Mohamed on Twitter: @Hamza_Africa

Source: Al Jazeera