MANDERA, Kenya, Jan. 17 (Xinhua) -- Al-Shabab has freed three Kenyan government officials who were abducted early this week in the northeast Kenyan border region, the police said on Sunday.
The police said the three officials working at the Kenya National Examination Council (KNEC) who were abducted on Jan. 11 were found abandoned at Tawfiq area in Mandera near the common border with Somalia on Saturday.
"The trio narrated that on the very day of abduction, they were taken several kilometers to an unknown place as the militant group numbering about 20 and asked whether they are Muslims or Christians," the police said in a security report.
According to the police, al-Shabab interrogated the three officials to find out if they were government employees.
"They finally convinced them that they are Muslims and are not working for the government hence being handled well," said the police.
The police said the three who looked tired and weak were later taken round for 24 hours on Friday before being released on Saturday.
The police said they had intensified the search and recovery of the three officials in Merile and Wakodadacha areas of Banisa region following their abduction.
Somalia-based fighters have been blamed in the past for a spate of kidnappings of foreigners along Kenya's northeast and coastal regions.
The police have also blamed local al-Shabab sympathizers for the attacks in the region which have always targeted security personnel and civil servants including teachers.
The east African nation shares a porous border with Somalia and many times the insurgents have carried out cross-border attacks where they also abduct people for ransom.