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

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment 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.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid