updated 9/11/2008 9:47:09 AM ET 2008-09-11T13:47:09

Suspected thieves tried to break into the home of Barack Obama's elderly step-grandmother in Kenya, the U.S. presidential candidate's uncle said Thursday.

The suspects did not manage to enter the house where Sarah Obama lives in the western Kenya village of Kogelo, according to Said Obama, the candidate's uncle.

"I just spoke to Sarah, and she's OK," he told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. "The police have been there since yesterday, and we're not worried. Everything is fine."

He said the thieves apparently used a ladder early Wednesday to get onto the roof after finding all the doors had been locked. It was not known how many thieves were involved or if any were in police custody.

Police did not return calls seeking comment on the incident.

The Democratic senator was born in Hawaii, where he spent most of his childhood raised by his mother, a white American from Kansas. He barely knew his late father, a Kenyan economist from Kogelo.

The candidate's Kenyan relatives have tried to keep a low profile and have been reluctant to comment on their security in Kogelo, more than 300 miles from the capital, Nairobi.

The Illinois senator is wildly popular in Kenya, where minibuses are emblazoned with his picture and vendors sell T-shirts bearing his image at traffic lights.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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