NAIROBI, Kenya – Ten heavily armed Somali militants driving their boat under the cover of darkness kidnapped a Frenchwoman on a resort island in northern Kenya early Saturday, officials said. The woman often uses a wheelchair, according to the resident.

The government blamed the attack on Somali militants from al-Shabab, and Kenyan navy and police chased the suspected boat at sea.

“Security forces swung into immediate action and pursued the abductors as they sped northwards in a high-speed boat towards” Ras Komboni, the town in Somalia the government said the militants originated, according to a government statement.

“In the ensuing shoot-out between the abductors and the Kenya Navy, several of the abductors were injured but managed to enter” Ras Komboni, the statement said.

At one point during the chase two Kenyan boats had the suspected pirate boat surrounded, with four men and the kidnapped woman on board, said Tourism Minister Najib Balala. A plane overhead was also monitoring the situation, he said.

“We are just concerned about the safety of the lady,” said Balala. He identified her as Marie Dedieu. French officials said in a statement that she is in her 60s. The Kenyan government called her “elderly” and one official said she was in her 70s.

Ambrose Munyasia, a top police official on the coast, said he had information that the French government would join the chase. He said he was optimistic the woman would be rescued soon.

But by early evening in Kenya, there was no news of a successful rescue. In a message to Ken-yans, the government said that “adequate security measures” had been put into place.

The French Foreign Ministry said in a statement that French officials are “working with the Kenyan authorities, who have mobilized significant air and sea resources in order to free our compatriot.”