Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

DEBATE

Will They Stay or Will They Go?

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Nigeria attack: Bomb blast in college in Kano

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Scotland's relationship status: "It's complicated"

Read more

DEBATE

Hollande Press Conference: French President Tackles Record Unpopularity

Read more

FOCUS

Cleaning up Thailand's shady surrogacy industry

Read more

ENCORE!

The Biennale des Antiquaires: Where Miro meets million-dollar jewellery and antiques

Read more

THE OBSERVERS

Attacks on migrants in Tangiers and unwelcome stares from men in Cairo

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Ebola virus: US to send 3,000 troops to West Africa

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

France looks on as Scotland votes

Read more

Africa

Gunmen free one Belgian and one Dutch aid worker

Latest update : 2009-04-30

Somali gunman released one Dutch and one Belgian aid worker for Doctors Without Borders. The kidnappers were from the same group that abducted four aid workers employed by the United Nations on March 16 in Wajid.

AFP - Somali gunmen on Tuesday freed two European aid workers kidnapped nine days ago in the lawless country's southern region, a local elder and a humanitarian worker said.
   
The doctors, a Dutch national and a Belgian employed by the French aid group Medecins sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders - MSF), were seized by the gunmen while on their way to Hodur, a town near the Ethiopian border.
   
Local elders and Islamist officials in the region had been in talks with the abductors to free them and the gunmen had demanded ransom and threatened to kill the aid workers if an armed rescue was attempted.
   
"After days of tough talks, we finally succeeded in freeing the hostages and now they are in the hands of the elders," said Hassan Mohamed, an elder involved in the negotiations.
   
"They have been officially transferred from the hands of the kidnappers," he added, but did not give details of the talks.
   
A local MSF worker, who spoke to AFP on condition of anonymity, confirmed their release.
   
"The aid workers are free now and they will come back to Hodur soon with the elders and the local Islamist authorities," he said.
   
The gunmen moved the hostages severally in different villages in the region as talks to free them were underway.
   
The kidnappers were from the same group that abducted four aid workers employed by the United Nations on March 16 in Wajid, a major UN aid hub located only 90 kilometres (55 miles) from Hodur.
   
The four were released hours after being snatched, following efforts by local elders and Shebab officials.
   
Kidnappings of foreign aid workers and journalists by ransom-seeking armed groups happen frequently in conflict-wracked Somalia.
   
UN agencies attempting to deliver food aid to 3.25 million Somalis -- nearly half the population -- have been repeatedly targeted.
   
Four European aid workers employed by the French charity Action Contre la Faim (Action Against Hunger) and their two Kenyan pilots have been held hostage since November.
  

Date created : 2009-04-28

COMMENT(S)