By focusing attacks in smaller, remote areas, insurgents are making a trade-off between publicity and slowly bleeding nations from their edges.
US strike 'kills' Shabaab chief behind Nairobi Westgate attack, Somali militants raid north Kenya in revenge
"The idea was to kill the [Mandera county governor Ali Roba] and all the people with him", said the militant's spokesman.
Kenya on the brink: Kenyatta purges top security chiefs after outrage over latest Al-Shabaab massacre
The government has been ridiculed for fighting a "hashtag war" against terror, and doing nothing on the ground, with 36 dead in fresh attack.
Al-Shabaab militant attacked bus in north Kenya and executed 28 non-Muslims.