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Kenya security recovers five bodies after al-Shabaab abduction

LAMU (Xinhua) -- Kenya’s security officers on Friday recovered three bodies, bringing to five the number of those killed in an operation to rescue six nationals abducted by Al-Shabaab in coastal Lamu region on Thursday.

Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) spokesman Colonel Joseph Owuoth said troops joined security agents to pursue the militants holed-up at the vast Boni forest which they said is their hideout.

“The joint operation has been intensified in the Boni forest,” said Owuoth, noting that the troops were behind the rescue mission of the Miriam El Maawy, the principal secretary in the Ministry of Lands and Physical Planning on Thursday.

The joint security team rescued El-Maawy, some 40 minutes after she and five others had been kidnapped by gunmen at Milihoi on Lamu-Mpeketoni highway, Lamu County.

El Maawy was rescued with bullet injuries in the back, hand and legs together with some of the victims who had been taken hostage by gunmen believed to be Al-Shabaab.

She had a bullet lodged in her left shoulder.

The attacks happened some about 40 kilometers from Mpeketoni town where coast regional coordinator Nelson Marwa was holding a security meeting and declared that recent attacks were politically instigated.

The attack took place at Milihoi area on the Lamu-Mpeketeni highway. About 30 militants were involved in the dramatic incident.

The PS’s driver was among at least four people including police officers who were killed in the operation. He was shot dead and the car he had burnt.

The PS’s nephew who was among those in the car has been identified as 21-year-old trainee pilot Arif Kassim.

A third person in the car believed to be a driver or bodyguard also died during the incident that occurred on the Mpeketoni-Lamu Road.

A government official who sought anonymity noted Kassim was reported missing shortly after the ambush.

“Reports indicated two more bodies believed to be of police officers have also been found. They are said to be of KDF officers killed while rescuing Maawy,” senior security officer said.



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