At least four people have been beheaded by suspected al-Shabaab extremists, a Kenyan police official has said. File picture: AFP

Nairobi — A Kenyan police official says at least four people have been beheaded by suspected al-Shabaab extremists based in neighboring Somalia.

Larry Kieng, the police chief in charge of Kenya's coastal region, says the attack took place Wednesday morning in the Bobo area of Hindi village in Lamu County.

The attack brings the number of people reported beheaded by al-Shabaab extremists in Lamu County in the past three months to 16.

Beheadings by al-Shabaab have been rare in Kenya but are not uncommon in Somalia, where the extremists use them to terrorize local populations.

Al-Shabaab has vowed retribution on Kenya for sending troops to Somalia to fight the extremists. 

The group has carried out numerous attacks inside Kenya since 2011, but recent attacks have been limited to counties bordering Somalia.

Associated Press