Villages on the border of Kenya and Somalia have experienced several violent attacks in the last month.
On Sunday, five civilians were killed in the Kenyan villages of Juhudi and Salama. Four of the five victims had their throats slit and the final victim was shot at close range. Both villages are located in Lamu County, which experienced two other attacks in the past two weeks. Hundreds of citizens in neighboring villages have fled their homes in fear of further attacks and retaliation.
"We have increased security in the area following last night's attack," Louis Rono, the Lamu County Prefect, said on Sunday.
The previous incidents were targeting the Kenyan Defense Forces who were running a security operation investigating them in the area.
Four people were killed last week in northeast Kenya when a vehicle escorting a convoy between the cities of Banisa and Mandera was attacked. On June 14, eight officers died when an improvised explosive device was used to attack their vehicle. Police have stated that al-Shabaab is responsible for all of the attacks.
About 30 attackers raided the village, burned homes and destroyed surrounding property. Authorities have stated that the attacks were carried out by al-Shabaab and have labeled it as a “terrorist attack”.
The Harakat Shabaab al-Mujahidin, better known as al-Shabaab or “The Youth”, is a Somalian militant group that took over a good portion of southern Somalia in late 2006. The group seeks to establish an Islamic state in Somalia and is responsible for several attacks across the country.
The group has been deemed a terrorist organization by several countries including the United States. A key point of the organization is to reject democracy and unite neighboring Somali-dominated areas such as Djibouti, Kenya, Ethiopia, and Somalia into one Islamic State under their own version of Sharia Law.
Al-Shabaab has been active in Kenya since 2011 after troops were sent there during an African Union peacekeeping mission in 2011.
The villages are near the Witu Forest, an area that is home to known al-Shabaab hideouts where they often take abductees.
This weekend’s attack raises the death toll from these attacks to more than 30 people- including the elderly, police officers, and regular civilians.
William Ruto, the president of Kenya, stated that troops might stay in Somalia for the next month. Troops were meant to be withdrawn much sooner.
“We are very clear and we are going to send a very powerful message to al-Shabab, that they are not going to reverse the gains that we have made in the last couple of years,” he said during a France 24 interview in Paris.
More security and troops have been deployed to the border in peacekeeping attempts and for the safety of local civilians.
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