'Al-Shabab' abducts and kills Kenyan chief near Mandera

Al-Shabab fighters in Somalia Image copyright AFP
Image caption Al-Shabab militants have been battling African Union forces in Somalia

Suspected al-Shabab militants have abducted and killed a traditional chief in northern Kenya, a local elder says.

Chief Muktar Otieno was seized early on Thursday morning on the road to Mandera town, close to the border between Kenya and Somalia.

Assistant chief Abdinoor Dakane told the BBC that Mr Otieno was tied to a tree and shot dead by the militants, after locals failed to pay a ransom.

Al-Shabab has staged a series of attacks in Kenya in recent years.

Kenyan troops are part of the African Union mission battling the Islamist militants in Somalia.

Al-Shabab has not yet commented on Mr Otieno's killing.

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Meanwhile, Kenya has extended an amnesty for al-Shabab militants to hand themselves in by a further 14 days.

When making the announcement, Interior Minister Joseph Nkaissery said some people had already taken advantage of the amnesty but declined to say how many.

Mr Otieno was abducted happened 10 km (five miles) from the place where al-Shabab gunmen killed 28 people travelling on a bus in Mandera county last November.

According to the assistant chief, who witnessed Mr Otieno's abduction, a group of local elders managed to track down the assailants to a town on the Kenyan-Somali border.

The group pleaded with the militants to release the chief, but when they failed to pay a ransom of 4m Kenyan shillings ($42,000; £28,000), Mr Otieno was shot dead in front of the clan elders, he told the BBC Somali service.

Mr Dakane told the BBC that he was now resigning from his position as assistant chief of Arabia ward because he feared for his life.

There has been no official comment yet from the Kenyan authorities.

The killing comes at a time of heightened tension over security in Kenya, after Islamist al-Shabab fighters killed 148 people, mainly students, during an attack on a university in Garissa earlier this month.

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