By Joseph Akwiri
MOMBASA (Reuters) - Eleven Somali al Shabaab militants and two Kenyan soldiers were killed when the al Qaeda-linked fighters attacked a military base in Kenya's northern coastal Lamu County close to the Somali border on Sunday, a local official said.
The militants carried out the early-morning raid on the military base near the town of Baure, said Lamu's deputy county commissioner, Joseph Rotich.
Militants also entered Mangai village where they forced men out of their houses and took them to a local mosque where they led prayers for an hour before they disappeared.
Kenya is preparing to mark the anniversary of two attacks in the town of Mpeketoni, also in Lamu County, in which militants killed at least 60 people a year ago.
Although Mpeketoni is inland from Kenya's Indian Ocean coastline, the attacks froze the tourism industry in Lamu, which had been popular with tourists from Europe and North America.
Al Shabaab, which seeks to overthrow the Western-backed Somali government and impose its strict interpretation of Islamic law, has frequently targeted neighboring Kenya in recent years, saying it is retaliating for Kenya's participation in an African Union peacekeeping force in Somalia.
In April, al Shabaab militants raided a university in the northern Kenyan city of Garissa, killing nearly 150 students, and in late 2013 militants killed at least 67 people in an attack on Nairobi's upmarket Westgate mall.
(Editing by Edith Honan and Raissa Kasolowsky)