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At least eight Kenyan police killed by militants

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At least eight Kenyan police killed by militants

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NAIROBI (Reuters) - Eight Kenyan police officials were killed when their vehicle hit an improvised explosive device planted by Somalia's al Shabaab militant group, police said.

The militants took eight weapons – six AK47 assault rifles and two G3 battle rifles – and 510 rounds of ammunition from the eight officers killed on Sunday in the east of the country, a police report said.

Al Shabaab is fighting to topple Somalia's government, establish their own rule based on their strict interpretation of Islamic law and drive out of the country peacekeepers deployed by the African Union.

The militants frequently launch attacks in neighbouring Kenya to pressure it to withdraw its troops which form part of the peacekeeping force.

Charles Owino, Kenya's police spokesman, told Reuters that the five administration police and three reservists were killed while protecting the country's borders.

Abdiasis Abu Musab, al Shabaab's military operations spokesman, said the group killed 10 Kenyan soldiers in the attack.

Earlier this month, five Kenyan police officers were killed in a similar attack in the same region. [L5N1T836L]

(Reporting by Humphrey Malalo, Noor Ali in Isiolo, and Feisal Omar and Abdi Sheikh in Mogadishu; Additonal reporting by Carlos Mureithi; Writing by Maggie Fick; Editing by Alison Williams)

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