You are currently viewing the printable version of this article, to return to the normal page, please click here.

Kidnapped aid workers back in Kenya

- The Washington Times - Monday, July 2, 2012

NAIROBI, KENYA | Four aid workers kidnapped at gunpoint from Kenya's largest refugee camp arrived back in Kenya's capital aboard a military helicopter Monday after a pro-government Somali militia group rescued the four inside Somalia.

The four workers from the Norwegian Refugee Council smiled and waved after landing in Nairobi.

"We are happy. We are back. We are alive and we are happy this has ended," said Qurat-Ul-Ain Sadazai, one of the four workers.

Elisabeth Rasmusson, the aid group's secretary-general, told a news conference in Oslo, the Norwegian capital, that she was relieved the four had been released. "What we know right now is that they have been released and are in good condition," she said.

Abdinasir Serar, a representative with the Ras Kamboni militia in Somalia, said his group heard of Friday's kidnapping in Kenya's Dadaab refugee camp and pursued the kidnappers. Militia fighters caught up with the kidnappers Monday morning about 35 miles inside Somalia.

Ras Kamboni's leader, Ahmed Madobe, said his men killed one of the kidnappers but the other three escaped.

Ras Kamboni works alongside Somali government and Kenyan military forces. Kenya sent troops to Somalia in October to hunt al-Shabab militants.

Four gunmen attacked a two-vehicle convoy from the Norwegian Refugee Council on Friday, killing one Kenyan driver and wounding two other Kenyans. The gunmen took one of the two vehicles and the four workers. The group later abandoned the vehicle and began walking toward the Somali border.

The Norwegian Refugee Council said the four released hostages are: Astrid Sehl, 33, of Norway; Glenn Costes, 40, of the Philippines; and Steven Dennis, 37, and Qurat-Ul-Ain Sadazai, 38, of Canada.

A Kenyan police commander said the aid group originally arranged to have armed security travel with it but canceled the arrangements at the last minute.

After an attack on a Doctors Without Borders convoy last year in which two Spanish women were abducted, some aid groups began using security escorts in Dadaab, a series of sprawling camps connected by sandy roads.

© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.