Lamu, KENYA: Three people were on Friday morning beheaded by suspected Alshabaab militants at Maleli village in Witu division of Lamu west.
Confirming the incident,Lamu LindaBoni operation director Joseph Kanyiri said three bodies were found by villagers while a fourth body was discovered in the bush by police who rushed to the village Friday morning.
He said the attack was carried out at around 12.30 am Friday where a group of heavily armed attackers raided one of the villages and beheaded four men.
They also torched several houses in the village before disappearing into the bushes.
He said officers had been dispatched to pursue the attackers who are said to have fled back into the bushes after the incident.
The four killed are said to have been guarding their farms from being invaded by herders who ar said to graze their livestock on their farms before they met their fate.
Kanyiri however said investigations were ongoing to determine if the four were killed by Alshabaab of if they were killed by herders due to ongoing conflicts between farmers and herders in the region over grazing pastures.
“I am aware four people have been killed.Three bodies were found initially but then another body was recovered from the bush by police.We aren’t sure who is responsible but we have zeroed in on either Alshabaab or they have been killed due to conflicts of pastures between herders and farmers which has been simmering for some time now.The killings are gruesome and similar to what happened in Jima village months back and investigations are on,”said Kanyiri.
He said the four were killed in a gruesome manner similar to that of Jima village in the same division some months back where nine people were also beheaded but added that the culprits would soon be brought to book.
Kanyiri has also ordered all herders to remove their animals from inside the Boni forest in the next 48 hours and that anyone that fails to do so would be considered a terrorist.
He said many of those posing as herders were suspicious, since their activities are closely related to those of the Alshabaab.
He said it was hard to comprehend how the herders who graze their livestock in the forest claim not to see any attackers or even their hideouts and added that they are probably part of the terror gang.
Kanyiri said police pursuing the killers of the four men had discovered that most of the footprints led to the homes of known herders and that investigations were on to capture them and charge them with terrorism.
“Police investigations already show that some of the footprints lead to the homes of herders in Maleli and surrounding areas.They will explain to us why the footsteps didn’t lead anywhere else,”he said.
Kanyiri said he was aware that some locals were helping the Alshabaab by giving them food and information on the movements of the police and said their days were numbered.
“The so called herders must give the security an attitude to operate and deal with Alshabaab.They stay in the Boni forest claiming to graze their livestock yet they claim not to see any terror camps or any attackers who flee inside the forest.we want them all out in the next 48 hours.We need to deal with this matter decisively so that we end it once and for all.There is a very close similarity between the herders and terrorists and that’s why we want to sort them.Locals must also stop helping these terrorists with food or anything else for that matter,”said Kanyiri.
He said they had several terror suspects in their custody who will be arraigned in court soon.