Al-Shabab extremists from neighboring Somalia beheaded nine civilians in an early-morning attack on a village in the southeast, Kenyan officials said Saturday, as concerns grew that the group had taken up a bloody new strategy.
The attack occurred in Jima village in Lamu County, said James Ole Serian, who leads a task force of security agencies combating al-Shabab.
Beheadings by al-Shabab have been rare in Kenya, where the extremist group has carried out dozens of deadly attacks over the years. The East African country has seen an increase in attacks claimed by al-Shabab in recent weeks, posing a security threat ahead of next month's presidential election.
The al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab has vowed retribution on Kenya for sending troops in 2011 to Somalia to fight the group, which last year became the deadliest Islamic extremist group in Africa.
Saturday's attack occurred in the Pandaguo area, where al-Shabab fighters engaged security agencies in a day-long battle three days ago.
A police report says about 15 al-Shabab fighters on Saturday attacked Jima village and seized men, killing them with knives.