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By Joseph Akwiri
MOMBASA (Reuters) - Suspected Islamist militants beheaded nine men in an overnight attack on a village in the Kenyan coastal district of Lamu, police said, days after Somali militants killed three policemen in an attack on a nearby village.
Police said there were nine bodies. A witness, who asked not to be named, confirmed the death toll.
"They raided Jima and Poromoko villages and killed nine men. They were slaughtered like chickens, using knives," said the witness.
Villagers said a group of heavily armed attackers, many of whom appeared to be ethnic Somalis, attacked the villagers at 11:00 pm. They went house to house searching for non-Muslim men and gathered their victims together before beheading them.
Residents had called police to report suspected al Shabaab militants in the area earlier on Friday.
The attack is close to the village of Pandanguo, where al Shabaab attackers killed three police officers on Friday. Al Shabaab has frequently mounted deadly cross-border attacks on Kenyan soil.
The al Qaeda-linked militant group wants to overthrow the weak U.N.-backed government and impose a strict form of Islamic law in Somalia. They have intensified attacks in Kenya since Kenya sent troops into Somalia.
(Writing by Katharine Houreld; Editing by Janet Lawrence)