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Al-Shabaab beheads 9 civilians in an early-morning attack in Kenya

(Reuters/Feisal Omar)Al Shabaab soldiers patrol in formation along the streets of Dayniile district in Southern Mogadishu, March 5, 2012.

The Somali-based terror group Al-Shabaab has beheaded nine civilians in an early-morning attack in a village in southeast Kenya on Saturday.

The beheadings occur in the village of Jima in Lamu County, where al-Shabaab fighters fought with security forces just three days prior to the attack, The Associated Press reported.

The group has carried out dozens of deadly attacks in recent years, but beheadings in Kenya have been rare. Beheadings are more common in Somalia, where the militants carry them out on people who are believed to be their enemies and to terrorize local populations.

According to Bloomberg, four police officers were killed in the attack and an unspecified number of people went missing.

Following the attack, Kenya's internal security ministry implemented a dusk-to-dawn curfew in three districts it described as "dangerous and disturbed."

Acting Interior Secretary Fred Matiang'i said that the curfew has been imposed in the eastern counties of Lamu, Garissa and Tana River.

Al-Shabaab, which became the deadliest Islamic extremist group in Africa last year, has vowed retribution against Kenya after it sent troops into Somalia in 2011 to fight the terror group.

The Somali-based militants have increased attacks in Kenya in recent months, killing at least 46 people in Lamu and Mandera counties.

Kenya is one of five countries that are contributing troops to an African Union force fighting Al-Shabaab's insurgency against the Somali government.

Figures released by the Africa Center for Strategic Studies revealed that Al-Shabaab has been responsible for 4,281 deaths in 2016.

The al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabaab has killed hundreds of civilians in Kenya, including at least 67 people in the 2013 attack on a shopping mall in the capital. In April 2015, the group killed almost 150 students in an attack on Christians at Kenya's Garissa University College.

In Somalia, the terror group has targeted the presidential palace, the parliament and supreme court offices, as well as hotels, parks and beachside restaurants.

The new Somali President, Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo, has invited the group to take part in negotiations or risk being wiped out in two years.

Al-Shabaab is led by the elusive Abu Ubaidah, who has a $6 million U.S. bounty on his head. The group has been officially labeled by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development as a transnational security threat in the East Africa region.

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