Al-Shabab extremists kill 3 teachers in Kenya, abduct 1

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A member of Kenya's security forces walks past a damaged police post after an attack by al-Shabab extremists in the settlement of Kamuthe in Garissa county, Kenya Monday, Jan. 13, 2020. The militants from neighboring Somalia attacked the settlement killing three teachers, setting fire to a police post, and destroying a telecommunications mast, police said in a report seen by The Associated Press. (AP Photo)

NAIROBI – Al-Shabab extremists killed three people in an assault early Monday in eastern Kenya, its fifth attack in thirteen days, police said.

The militants from neighboring Somalia attacked Kamuthe town in Garissa county at 2 a.m., setting fire to a police post and destroying a telecommunication mast, police said in a report seen by The Associated Press.

Three non-Muslim teachers were killed and a Muslim one was abducted, the report said. Another teacher was wounded. The attackers spared the life of a female nurse due to her gender, it added.

Al-Shabab is claiming responsibility for the attack in a terse statement within its “latest news” posted Monday on its official website, Shahada.

Al-Shabab has vowed retribution on Kenya for sending troops to Somalia since 2011 to fight the militants. The group has carried out numerous attacks on Kenya, killing hundreds.

Earlier this month, the al-Qaida-linked group attacked a military base used by Kenyan and U.S. forces, killing three Americans and destroying aircraft and other machinery.

Since December, al-Shabab has increased the frequency of its attacks in five Kenyan counties that border Somalia and that the government has named as hotspots for extremism. They are Lamu, Garissa, Wajir, Tana River and Mandera counties. Kenya's security forces have been caught inadequately prepared for the recent attacks in these counties, said security analyst and former U.S. Marine Andrew Franklin, who is a longtime resident in Kenya.

The extremist group, which is based in Somalia, has waged an increasingly effective eight-year violent campaign and the Kenyan government has failed to treat this threat with the seriousness it deserves, said Franklin.