An attack on a Kenyan military base by the Somali militant group al Shabaab has reportedly left two Kenyan soldiers and 11 militants dead.
The attack occurred at dawn on Sunday at an army camp in Lamu County on the northeast coast of Kenya, near the southern tip of Somalia, military spokesman Col. David Obonyo said. Two militants killed in the attack were reportedly Caucasian, and Kenyan authorities are working to determine their identities amid suspicions that they were foreigners, according to Obonyo.
"Several others fled with injuries towards the forest and hot pursuit is currently underway," Obonyo said, according to Al Jazeera.
Prior to the firefight, militants also entered the nearby Mangai village and pulled men into a mosque, leading them in prayer for an hour before disappearing, according to Reuters.
The attack is the most recent in a series of bloody assaults in Kenya. In April, Somali militants massacred 147 people at Garissa University College in northeast Kenya before security forces intervened. Last month, al Shabaab fighters ambushed multiple police vehicles in Garissa County. The attack Sunday on the army camp comes nearly one year after militants killed at least 48 non-Muslims in the town of Mpeketoni in Lamu County.
Anthropologist Benoit Hazard, who also works at France's National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), said in an earlier interview with VICE News that al Shabaab's objective is "to establish a caliphate in the Horn of Africa," and to implement Sharia law. Hazard estimates the group has been weakened significantly in recent years, counting the current membership at "close to 5,000 [insurgents], versus 20,000 in 2011."
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The Associated Press and VICE News' Pierre Longeray contributed to this report.