, NAIROBI Kenya, Oct 14 – Deputy Inspector General of Police Samuel Arachi has denied claims that five men Kidnapped by Al-Shabaab militants on Friday last week have been freed.
He said there was no communication from their respective families indicating the release.
Arachi however said the rescue operation was on, as well as the hunt for the attackers.
A combined team of Kenya Defence Forces and the police have mounted an extensive operation to rescue the five, who were abducted at the coastal town of Lamu.
A ground and aerial security operation is also conducted in the vast Boni forest near the Kenya-Somalia border, which is used by the militants as a hideout.
Lamu County Commissioner Njenga Miiri said the operation had been extended into Somalia where gunmen are believed to be holding the captives.
Lamu County is still on a 6pm to 6am curfew following rising insecurity that has claimed many lives and left property destroyed.
The dusk-to-dawn curfew will remain in force until October 23, according to Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo.
Kimaiyo has since directed that Boni and adjacent forests remain prohibited areas saying any person found there will be dealt with firmly as per the law.
Armed gunmen blamed for the killing of nearly 100 people in Lamu two months ago had taken refuge in the vast forest and the military was deployed to flush them out.
The gunmen have been ambushing motorists and killing people indiscriminately.
Previously, Lamu had been hit by a series of attacks since mid-June which had fuelled divisions in the coastal region blamed on radicalisation, ethnic tensions and land disputes.
Somalia’s Al-Qaeda linked Al Shabaab group has claimed responsibility for some of the attacks, saying they were in retaliation of the continued presence of Kenya’s military in the lawless Horn of Africa country.