LAMU, Kenya, July 13 (Xinhua) -- Kenyan soldiers on Thursday rescued a senior government official who was among six hostages who were abducted by Al-Shabaab militants in the coastal Lamu region.
Kenya Defence Force (KDF) spokesman Colonel Joseph Owuoth said the Principal Secretary Maryam Elmaawy was rescued in the operation that saw her vehicle rollover several times and later burst into flames.
"Our KDF platoon responded swiftly on both ground and air and rescued the PS who has since been airlifted to Manda for medical attention," Owuoth said.
The local police said at least three people including the driver were killed and Elmaawy was shot in the shoulder and leg during the rescue operation.
The three were killed by the militants who realized that the KDF soldiers were pursuing them.
Coast Administration Police commander James Akoru had earlier confirmed that the six were abducted by about 30 heavily armed militants at Milihoi area on the Lamu-Mpeketoni highway.
The incident comes just a few days after government released pictures of six wanted terror suspects behind the recent attacks in Lamu.
The six -- Abdullahi Jorso Kotola, Hassan Jahso Kotola, Hamisi Swaleh Abdallah, Hassan Abdallah Muhsi aka Hassan Kuku, James Kimanthi Maasai alias Rafat And Rama Mbwana Mbwega are currently under police radar.
Police are now calling on members of the public to come forth with any information regarding the suspects to assist in efforts aimed at combating violent extremism in the country.
Security has since been beefed up in the coastal region to deter attacks perpetrated by suspected Al-Shabaab militants. Enditem