Five civilians have been killed by armed assailants who attacked two villages in southeast Kenya, police said.
The attack on Sunday occurred in the villages of Juhudi and Salama in Lamu County, which borders Somalia, the police source said.
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The attackers also burned houses and destroyed property.
A 60-year-old man was bound with a rope and “his throat slit, his house was burnt with all belongings”, police said. Three others were killed in a similar manner while a fifth victim was shot.
Resident Hassan Abdul said that “women were locked in the houses and the men ordered out, where they were tied with ropes and butchered”.
A secondary school student was among the five people killed, Abdul said, adding that “all those killed were slashed and some of them had been beheaded”.
Another local resident, Ismail Hussein, said that the fighters stole food supplies before leaving, firing their arms into the air.
Police described the incident as a “terrorist attack”, a phrase they typically use to refer to incursions by Somalia’s al-Shabab group.
Lamu is near Kenya’s border with Somalia and fighters from al-Shabab frequently carry out attacks in the area in a bid to push Kenya to withdraw troops from Somalia, where they are part of an international peacekeeping force defending the central government.
Kenya first sent troops into Somalia in 2011 to combat the al-Qaeda-affiliated group and is now a major contributor of troops to an African Union (AU) military operation against the group.
But it has suffered a string of retaliatory assaults, including a bloody siege at the Westgate mall in Nairobi in 2013 that claimed 67 lives and an attack on Garissa University in 2015 that killed 148 people.
In Somalia itself, al-Shabab has continued to wage deadly attacks despite a major offensive launched last August by pro-government forces, backed by the AU Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS).
ATMIS, which has 22,000 troops, has been assisting Somalia’s federal government in its war against al-Shabab since 2022, when it replaced the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).
Last week, four people were killed in northeast Kenya, with police saying al-Shabab was responsible. The incident took place when a vehicle was escorting a convoy of buses between the towns of Banisa and Mandera. Another security team from Banisa was attacked when it responded, police said.
On June 14, eight Kenyan police officers were killed when their vehicle was destroyed by an improvised explosive device in a suspected attack by al-Shabab, police said.
In the last two weeks, attacks linked to al-Shabab have killed another 10 people, according to police reports.