On Sunday, armed assailants attacked Salama and Juhudi villages in Lamu county, southeast Kenya, killing five people and burning houses and property.
According to the police, this was a terrorist attack, a term they frequently use to describe the incursions by Somalia’s Islamist militant group, al-Shabaab.
Lamu is close to Kenya’s border with Somalia and al-Shabaab militants often carry out such attacks as part of their efforts to force Kenya to withdraw its troops from Somalia, where they are part of an international peacekeeping force protecting the central government.
The attackers targeted the two villages early Sunday morning, killing four people by slitting their throats and burning their homes and belongings. The fifth victim was shot. The terrorists then fled into a nearby forest.
One of the victims was a 60-year-old man who was bound with a rope before being killed. The police have launched an investigation into the incident.
Al-Shabaab, an al-Qaeda-affiliated group, has been fighting for years in Somalia to overthrow the central government and establish its own rule based on its strict interpretation of Islamic sharia law.
The Kenyan government has been battling al-Shabaab militants in Somalia since 2011 and has suffered numerous attacks on its soil since then. In 2013, militants attacked the Westgate shopping mall in the capital, Nairobi, killing at least 67 people. In 2015, they attacked Garissa University College, killing 148 people.
Security forces in Kenya have been on high alert in recent months following intelligence reports of possible terrorist attacks in the country. They have been conducting regular operations in areas near the border with Somalia to flush out the militants.