News / Africa

Somali PM Condemns Refugee Camp Kidnapping

An unidentified Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) driver is assisted from an ambulance as he arrives at the Nairobi hospital in Kenya's capital Nairobi, October 13, 2011
An unidentified Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) driver is assisted from an ambulance as he arrives at the Nairobi hospital in Kenya's capital Nairobi, October 13, 2011
Gabe Joselow

Somalia's Prime Minister has condemned the kidnapping of two Spanish doctors from the Dadaab refugee camps in Kenya, in an attack blamed on the Somali militant group al-Shabab. Tthe kidnapping has raised concerns about security in the sprawling camps.

The doctors working with the aid group Doctors Without Borders (Medecins Sans Frontiere) were abducted in broad daylight Thursday afternoon after finishing their work in the Ifo 2 camp in Dadaab, Kenya.

Police say it is likely the two women were taken into neighboring Somalia, which is only 80 kilometers away from where they were attacked.

Suspicions have fallen on the Somali militant group, al-Shabab, which is active in areas of Somalia close to the Kenyan border.

Somali Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohamed Ali says he has sympathy for the victims, but could not confirm who was responsible.

“All we have is that preliminary information, I'm not privy to any inside information about the incident, but we are looking into it and we will try to help as much as we can," said Ali. "And we are still gathering information about who might be responsible but we don't have an indication of who did it.”

In an earlier statement, Ali did decry what he called the “continuous threats of Al-Shabab terrorists” to refugees and aid workers.

Somalia's Transitional Federal Government has very little presence in southern Somalia, and no capacity to police the border. But Prime Minister Ali says his country will do what it can.

“So the best we can do now is to condemn this act, and all we can do in terms of moral support and in terms of intelligence gathering, we will do our best to help,” Ali added.

The kidnapping came just three weeks after another aid worker, a driver for the group CARE, was kidnapped from Dadaab.

The spate of violence is spreading fear among the more than 460,000 refugees living in the camps.

Hassan Bashir, a resident refugee, says he is concerned the violence will disrupt the aid effort.

“For us, we are very scared as the refugees in the camps and we are really facing insecurity problems," said Bashir. "This is very very bad for us.  Because it is affecting the people that are always helping us here, and they are targeted. You know, it is a very very bad condition.”

The United Nations temporarily suspended some of its aid operations in the camp Friday to reassess the security situation. Other groups, including Oxfam and CARE, have taken similar measures.

Kenyan police have said the gunmen in Thursday's attack came from within the refugee camps.

Bashir confirmed that al-Shabab militants are living among other refugees inside Dadaab, and says rumors abound about who was responsible for the recent attacks.

“We can see that these people are with us, and we don't know who they are. And maybe somebody is hiding somewhere in the camps and then in the night or maybe in the daytime you don't know what he is carrying or what he is going to do," Bashir said. "So actually we are saying it is [up to] the government to do the efforts to control these kinds of security problems we're experiencing in the camps.”

Somali militants have also been blamed for kidnapping two other westerners and killing another in the past two months in the Kenyan resort town of Lamu.

Kenyan police have vowed to increase enforcement at the border with Somalia in response to the attacks in Lamu.

You May Like

FIFA Indictments Put Gold Cup Tournament Under Cloud

Experts say US indictments could lead to charges of other world soccer officials, and lead to major shakeup in sport's governance More

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

At a recent even in Seoul, border communities promoted benefits of increased cooperation and North Korean defectors shared stories of life since the war More

Video VOA EXCLUSIVE: Iraq President Vows to Fight IS 'Until They Are Killed or We Die'

In wide-ranging interview with VOA Persian service reporter, Fuad Masum describes conflict as new type of fight that will take time to win More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardshipi
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
May 28, 2015 6:48 PM
Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Floodwaters Recede in Houston, but Rain Continues

Many parts of Texas are recovering from one of the worst natural disasters to hit the southwestern state. Heavy rains on Monday and early Tuesday caused rivers to swell in eastern and central Texas, washing away homes and killing at least 13 people. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, floodwaters are receding slowly in the country's fourth-largest city, and there likely is to be more rain in the coming days.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.

VOA Blogs