KILIFI, Kenya, Nov. 21 (Xinhua) -- Kenyan authorities said Wednesday they have intensified manhunt for gunmen who on Tuesday evening kidnapped an Italian woman and injured five other Kenyans during an attack in Kenya's coastal Kilifi County.
Joseph Boinnet, Inspector General of Police, said a special security force has been deployed to the region to hunt the attackers whom the locals said are of Somali origin.
"We assure the public that we are sparing no effort in tracking down the criminals and rescue the victim," said Boinnet.
The heavily armed attackers abducted 23-year-old Sylivia Constanca, a volunteer of Africa Milele Onlus, when they raided Chakama trading centre, about 80 km west of tourism resort town of Malindi, injuring five people including three children.
The residents said those who sustained gunshot wounds were trying to rescue the kidnapped Italian but the assailants armed with AK47 rifles then began to shoot indiscriminately at residents including children.
The Somali militants have changed tactics and resorted to abductions and using improvised explosive devices to carry out attacks in parts of coast region and northeastern Kenya, according to police.
Witnesses said the Italian woman tried to stop the attackers and told them off when they demanded money from her during the 8 p.m. incident.
Joseph Kanyiri, operation director of Linda Boni, said security personnel were also investigating the incident. "A lot is being done to address the matter," he told Xinhua from Lamu.
The Linda Boni is an operation which was launched by the national government in 2015 to hunt down and eliminate al-Shabab militants from the areas including the vast Boni forest where they insurgents use as their hideout location.
No arrest has been made but the police said are yet to uncover the motive behind the heinous attack but added that contingents of police officers have been deployed to track down the attackers.
Police have also called on locals to report any suspicious persons so as to help save the abducted lady.
The coastal region has been a target of terror attacks in the past, often staged by al-Shabab terrorists who waged a war against Kenya soon after it deployed its military to the war-ravaged country in October 2011.
The police believe that the militant group still remains the major threat in areas along the common border, noting that the targets include security personnel, and establishments along the border as well as commuter vehicles plying routes along the border and coastal regions.