About 200 Islamic extremist fighters have split from Somalia's al-Shabab rebels, who are allied to al-Qaida, and have instead pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group, Kenya's police chief said Thursday.
The splinter group is operating around the Somali
border in Kenya's north, and has carried out at least two attacks in the last two weeks, killing one soldier and two civilians in Mandera County, Joseph Boinett told The Associated Press.
The split in al-Shabab poses an extra challenge for Kenya's security forces, Boinnet said. Among those who have joined the pro-IS faction of al-Shabab is Mohamed Kuno, alias Gamadhere, who is wanted for the April 2 attack by al-Shabab gunmen on a Kenya's Garissa University in the country's east, in which 148 people were killed, Boinnet said.
Al-Shabab has vowed retribution on Kenya for sending troops to Somalia to fight the Islamic extremists. Kenya has experienced a series of al-Shabab attacks since it sent its troops to Somalia in 2011.
The defections are causing tensions within al-Shabab.