Two Kenyan aid workers and Somali doctor kidnapped: police
7/11/2012 10:00:01 PM -
MOGADISHU (AFP) - Two Kenyan aid workers and a Somali doctor were kidnapped in lawless northern Somalia on Wednesday, probably by pirates, a local police official told AFP.
Several local employees from aid agencies and non-governmental groups in Galkayo and Garowe, another town farther north, told AFP the victims work for Swedish group International Aid Services.
The organisation said it would not be commenting in the immediate future.
"Two Kenyans and a local Somali doctor were kidnapped and the initial reports indicate the kidnappers were pirates, but we are still investigating the incident," said police official Adan Warsame in Galkayo, close to where the abductions occurred.
Galkayo straddles the border separating semi-autonomous Puntland from the self-proclaimed separate region of Galmudug to the south.
Another Galkayo police official, Mohammed Ise Hassan, said the kidnapping took place Wednesday afternoon near the village of Baadweyn, about 50 kilometres (30 miles) north.
Hassan said the abductees' driver and two of their police escorts were wounded.
The abductions marked the latest kidnappings of foreigners in unrest-plagued Somalia.
Somalia has been roiled by unrest and without an effective government for nearly 20 years, with Islamists, warlords, criminal gangs and pirates controlling portions of the vast east African country.
Last week four foreigners working for the Norwegian Refugee Council were released in southern Somalia following a joint operation by Somali and Kenyan forces three days after their kidnapping.
In October 2011, gunmen seized two Spaniards working for Medecins sans Frontieres in the Dadaab refugee camp. They are still being held hostage in Somalia.
Also that month, a Dane and an American were kidnapped in Galkayo and held hostage for three months before being freed by US special forces.