Suspected militants from the Somali group al Shabaab killed four people on Wednesday in Lamu County.

The four were shot and then decapitated by the armed militants in two different attacks, authorities said.

Lamu County Commissioner Gilbert Kitiyo said the attacks took place in Silini-Mashambani early on Wednesday where three were killed, while in a separate incident in Bobo village one person was killed.

“Four people have been butchered at Silini and Bobo. They beheaded the men before fleeing into the forest,” said Kitiyo, adding that the attackers were armed with AK-47 rifles.

“They know the locals very well. They went from house to house calling out names of their targets before forcing them out and killing them mercilessly.”

He said the assailants were about 30 in number.

“They were dressed in military gear and had AK-47 rifles.  All the victims are men. Police have already arrived at the scene and taken the bodies to the mortuary,” Kitiyo said.

Al Shabaab’s spokesman, Abdiasis Abu Musab, said the group was behind the attack and put the number of those killed at five, saying it had targeted non-Muslims.

The attacks prompted protests from locals over the slow response by security agents.

Lamu has seen an increase in attacks in the past weeks leaving at least 20 people dead.

Residents of Hindi, Lamu County protest slow response by security agents