NAIROBI, Kenya — Kenyan officials said al-Shabab extremists from neighboring Somalia have beheaded nine civilians in an attack on a village in the southeast.
James Ole Serian, who leads a task force of security agencies combating al-Shabab, says the attack early Saturday morning occurred in Jima village in Lamu County. Beheadings by al-Shabab in Kenya have been rare.
The attack occurred in the same area where al-Shabab engaged security agencies in a day-long battle three days ago.
A senior officer at police headquarters in Nairobi confirmed the incident. “It is true, we have lost nine people in today’s attack,” the officer said, without providing further details.
Earlier in the week, three police were killed in an attack on a police post in Lamu, blamed on the Al-Qaeda aligned Shabab.
The Shabab is fighting to overthrow the internationally-backed government in Mogadishu but also carries out regular attacks in neighboring Kenya which has troops in Somalia as part of an African Union force.
In a televised address on Saturday morning following the death in hospital of Kenya’s Interior Minister Joseph Nkaissery, President Uhuru Kenyatta spoke of “an unfortunate incident this morning, which we are assessing.”
Appointing Education Minister Fred Matiangi as acting security minister Kenyatta promised there would be “no vacuum in securing our country.
Kenya goes to the polls on August 8 with Kenyatta hoping to win a second and final four-year term.