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Five Kenyan forces killed in mission to free official

AFP  |  Nairobi 

Suspected Shabaab militants briefly kidnapped a Kenyan official and five security personnel were killed in an operation to rescue her, security sources say.

Armed men seized Miriam El Maawy, who heads the public works department of Kenya's infrastructure ministry, around 4:00 pm (1300 GMT) in eastern Lamu county yesterday.

A joint security operation involving police and the military was launched and Maawy was rescued when the car she was in lost control and rolled while speeding towards the border with Somalia.

But a gunfight broke out between the kidnappers and security forces, during which four police or military personnel were killed along with Maawy's bodyguard, a senior police officer told AFP.

Defence Forces spokesman Joseph Awuoth confirmed Maawy had been rescued but gave no further details.

The Shabaab is fighting to overthrow the internationally backed in Mogadishu but also carries out regular attacks in neighbouring Kenya, which has troops in Somalia as part of an African Union force.

The group has increased its attacks in recent weeks in Lamu, as prepares to go to the polls for a presidential election on August 8.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, July 14 2017. 05:07 IST