Sat, Oct 15, 2011 - Page 6 News List

Kidnapped Spanish aid workers likely to be in Somalia

AFP, NAIROBI

Two Spanish aid workers kidnapped from Kenya’s Dadaab refugee camp are believed to have been taken across the border into lawless Somalia, police said yesterday.

The two women, working as logisticians for the aid agency Medicins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders), were seized on Thursday by gunmen that police say were Somali Islamist Shebab rebels.

“There are all indications that they are on the other side [of the border],” regional police chief Leo Nyongesa said.

Fierce fighting was reported in a town just inside Somalia on Thursday between al-Qaeda linked Shebab militants and other rival Somali militia groups.

Despite the likelihood the kidnappers are now in Somalia, police said they were to continue the search in Kenya yesterday with the support of a helicopter.

“We have not found them, but the search is still going on. We will resume the search this morning both on the ground and in the air,” he added.

The Kenyan driver of the aid workers was shot and wounded by the gunmen, who then drove with the women toward the Somali border.

The four-wheel drive vehicle was found late on Thursday by police in the Dadajabula area, less than 20km from the Somali border and 40km from where the women were seized.

“We suspect they were unable to proceed with it due to poor terrains because it was raining,” Nyongesa added.

The abduction was the third kidnapping of foreigners from Kenya in just over a month.

Kenya is still reeling from the kidnappings of a French and British national recently from coastal regions by Somali gunmen that dealt a blow to its key tourism sector.

Dadaab, the world’s largest refugee complex, is home to about 450,000 refugees, most of whom have come from Somalia, fleeing drought and war.

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