Suspected al Shabaab fighters behead 4 Kenyan Christians, official says

Around 30 militants suspected to be from the Somali group al Shabaab have beheaded four Christians in Lamu County in Kenya early on Sept. 6 in two separate attacks that targeted non-Muslims, according to a local official.

(REUTERS / Goran Tomasevic)Captured militant weapons are displayed in front of bodies of killed al Shabaab fighters in Mpeketoni, Lamu county, June 15, 2015.

Speaking to Reuters over the phone, Lamu County Commissioner Gilbert Kitiyo said around 30 armed militants clad in military gear conducted house-to-house attacks and called out the names of their victims. They killed three men in Silini-Mashambani and another one in Bobo village.

"They were dressed in military gear and had AK-47 rifles. They beheaded four men before fleeing into the forest," Kitiyo told Reuters. "All the victims are men. Police have already arrived at the scene and taken the bodies to the mortuary."

Al Shabaab spokesperson Abdiasis Abu Musab said their group was responsible for the attack. He claimed that they had killed five people in the latest rampage and that they had targeted non-Muslims.

The latest attacks in Lamu County sparked a protest over what people saw as a security issue in the region. Riot police had to use teargas and rubber bullets to disperse the demonstrators. The government has also implemnted a dusk-to-dawn curfew in light of the recent string of attacks.

On Sept. 3, al Shabaab militants stormed a military base in the village of Bala Gudud near the city of Kismayu in Somalia, according to a Somali army officer. The terror group said its members had killed 26 Somali soldiers in the attack, but the number had not been verified, Standard Media reported.

At the time, military officer Mohamed Isa told Reuters that there was a blast and clashes between the two forces. However, he said they still did not have other details of the incident.

The al Shabaab spokesman issued a statement to Reuters claiming responsibility for the attack and saying they had burnt two vehicles. They reportedly fled after looting the base and seizing weapons, ammunition, and vehicles.