Kenya: Nine villagers beheaded in a brutal al-Shabaab attack

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    In one of their most bizarre
    attacks on Kenyan soil the al-Shabaab militia group on Saturday
    morning beheaded nine people in Kenya’s north coast city of
    Lamu.

    The al-Qaeda linked militia group hit on the
    village on Saturday morning, in a well-orchestrated attack,
    dragging 10 men from their houses after which they chopped off
    their heads. Only one managed to escape after playing dead for
    hours after he was left bleeding.

    The guerilla attack has created a new face of
    terror in the volatile region, with the Somalia-based militia
    moving from their traditional Improvised Explosive Devices
    (IED) and masked gunmen in their previous
    attacks.

    President Uhuru Kenyatta, who informed Kenyans of
    the incident on Saturday morning while announcing the death of
    the Internal Security Minister Joseph Nkaiserry, termed it as
    unfortunate.

    We are still assessing the incident and we assure
    Kenyans that the security in the country will be maintained,”
    he added.

    Despite the dawn to dusk curfew imposed by the
    newly appointed Minister of Internal Security Fred Matiang’i,
    Kenyans have already started fleeing the area fearing the
    attacks could be a predecessor to more atrocities as the 8
    August elections draw near.

    They expressed concern that the militia could be
    planning severe attacks on other parts of the country, citing
    that with many residents unaccounted for there are fears that
    the numbers of the killed could be higher.

    James ole Serian, the head of Operation Linda Boni,
    which operates where the area lies, confirmed the incident,
    saying that a team of security agents had been sent to pursue
    the militants. He however declined to give more information,
    saying they would brief the country later.

    We will give more details later as we are still
    pursuing the killers,” he added.

    Jackson Kitsao, an eye witness, said about 16 men
    went from house to house dragging all the men
    out.

    One of the men managed to escape but the others
    were unfortunately killed. The whereabouts of some of the
    people remains unknown as they fled to avoid being killed,” he
    added.

    Johnson Ndokalone, a resident, said they used
    knives to slaughter the men, one by one.

    He called for improved security in the area, citing
    that more needs to be done to ensure their safety was
    upheld.

    The attacks become worse with each rising sun,” he
    added.

    In the last two months, about 40 people have been
    killed in IED attacks on the Kenyan coast, raising fears about
    the country’s preparedness to combat terrorism.

    The isolated attacks have seen the militia plant
    IEDs on roads and thickets frequently traversed by security
    agencies, leading to massive deaths in the area.

    In the latest attack three days ago, two police
    officers were killed in Pandaguo area in an early morning
    attack after a seven-hour gang battle with the Kenya Defence
    Force.

    On 31 May, seven Kenyan police attached to the
    Mangai Rapid Border Patrol Unit were killed after their Armored
    Personnel carrier (APC) hit an IED in the Kiunga area of Lamu.
    Kenyan army personnel who attempted to rescue the injured were
    repulsed by heavy shooting from the militia group, forcing them
    to flee to safety.

    They opened fire on the police officers who had
    rushed to the scene to help the hurt troops, making it
    impossible to save their lives,” said Head of Operations Noah
    Mwivanda.

    Mandera governor Ali Roba narrowly escaped death
    when an armoured vehicle in his convoy hit an IED on 24 May.
    Four of his bodyguards and a civilian died in the incident
    after they took a detour to refuel and hit the IED. Soldiers
    who attempted to help them were repulsed by gunshots from
    suspected al-Shabaab men, forcing them to flee for their
    lives.

    On 25May, two police officers lost their lives
    after their car rammed into an explosive in Liboi area in
    Garrisa. Four policemen were seriously injured when the IED
    destroyed their vehicle along the Malelei Kulan Road in the
    07:00 blast.

    On 16 May, al-Shabaab killed an administration
    police in Northern Kenya and kidnapped two police
    reservists.

    The men interrogated chief Dekow Abbey Sirat at
    around 22:00, then riddled his body with bullets.

    Northern Coast Regional Coordinator Mohamud Saleh
    insisted that the militia was carrying out the attacks with the
    help of local sympathisers.

    Kenya came under siege by the group after it
    launched “Operation Linda Inchi,” which saw it send 3,600
    troops to Somalia to repulse the militia after a series of
    attacks on Kenyan soil under the African Union Mission to
    Somalia (AMISOM).

    Al-Shabaab killed 200 soldiers in ElAdde in January
    2016 and a year later slayed 57 soldiers in Kulbiyow. It also
    claimed responsibility for the Westgate mall attack in which 67
    people died. Kenya also lost 147 students in the Garissa
    University attack.

    Political analyst Joseph Omondi called for proper
    manning of the Kenyan Somalia border, saying that it was
    important to monitor the movements into the
    country.

    Kenya needs to be extra vigilant in the emerging
    faces of terror. There is also urgent need to analyse any
    intelligence report that comes along their way. This is the
    only way to combat the militia who are coming up with different
    tactics to kill our soldiers,” he added.

    Police Inspector-General Joseph Boinnet assured
    Kenyans of their security.

    Lamu has been experiencing a series of attack but
    we are working towards a clear path to ensure the safety of
    everyone living there,” said Boinett.
    DM

    Photo: A member of Somalia’s al-Shabaab militant
    group stands in front of a crowd during a public demonstration
    to announce their integration with al-Qaeda in Elasha, south of
    the capital Mogadishu February 13, 2012. REUTERS/Feisal
    Omar

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