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Kidnapped Kenyans aid workers moved to Somalia pirate hub
The Star (Kenya)
Sunday, July 15, 2012

The abductors of three Kenyan aid workers kidnapped in Puntland on Wednesday evening have moved them to a pirate hub in Hobyo but have not made any demands.

The kidnappers moved the International Aid Services employees Ms Madoni, the head of the delegation, Mr Kariyota, an engineer, and Abdinur Kambase a doctor, after meeting resistance from residents opposed to the kidnap.

IAS yesterday confirmed that it had been established that the three were taken by a band of pirates but the hostages were unharmed. The attack was conducted by about 14 attackers in three vehicles armed with assault rifles and PKM machine guns.

"Following the report on July 11 regarding kidnapping of three IAS personnel serving in Puntland, it has now been confirmed that a certain pirate group was involved. The hostages are reported well and have been taken to a known location under the control of pirates. IAS has established crises groups that are engaged in discussion with various groups in Somalia and Kenya. No demands have so far been presented by the group," IAS executive director Leif Zetterlund said yesterday.

The IAS team was mission to monitor water and education programmes in the region. "At the time of abduction, they were travelling in two vehicles, one belonging to the security team. Both vehicles were hijacked by the pirates. IAS condemns this serious act of aggression against humanitarian staff in the strongest terms. We urge the attackers to immediately and unconditionally release our staff," Zetterlund said.

 Four people including IAS representative in Puntland Ahmed Isse Hassan were wounded during the ambush and exchange of gunfire. Hassan is being treated at a medical centre in Galkayo as are two security officers from the Special Protection Unit.

The aid workers and their escort left Garowe on Wednesday morning and went on a field assessment in visited Harfo and Ba’adweyn towns and Rooh village. They were returning on the same route when they were attacked  along the main road about 6km north of Ba’adweyn.

Puntland security forces in Galkayo, Jariban and Bali Busle town have been mobilized to pursue the kidnappers assisted by the local communities who blocked them in Towfiq village forcing them to go southwards toward Hobyo.


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