The Kenyan defense ministry spokesman says three suspected Somali pirates have been killed following a skirmish with Kenyan naval forces off the coastal town of Kilifi, Press TV reported.
Three men were shot and a fourth drowned after they ambushed a naval patrol inside Kenya's territorial waters at around 11:30 p.m. (2030 GMT) on Friday, Bogita Ongeri said on Saturday.
Ongeri told AFP that the attack took place some 60 kilometers (40 miles) north of the country's main port of Mombasa.
"The government will not relent in its fight against piracy," Ongeri said.
The latest attack comes amid rising concerns that Somali pirates are continuing to expand their area of operations south and east of the Indian Ocean, making it harder for international anti-piracy naval missions patrolling the dangerous waters of the Gulf of Aden to foil their attacks.
Earlier on Saturday, Chinese media said a gang of pirates had hijacked a Panamanian-registered ship, the Yuan Xiang, with 29 Chinese sailors onboard in the Arabian Sea.
The owner of the vessel, the Ningbo Hongyuan Ship Management Co. Ltd., was informed by the pirates that the ship had change course to sail toward Somalia, the report added.
In another development, pirates holding a British couple for over a year claimed they had received a ransom of 1 million dollars and would release Paul and Rachel Chandler on Sunday.