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

    Mother of IS Supporter: Son Was Peaceful, 'Role Model'

    Somali-American Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of conspiring to provide material support to Islamic State militants

    Factions Shift as Civilians Die in Syrian War

    Scenario likely only to further confuse military situation on ground and potentially worsen humanitarian crisis that already has grown to epic proportions

    Presidential Hopefuls Woo Minorities, Evangelicals

    Four GOP candidates to speak at forum at Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina

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

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortagei
    X
    February 12, 2016 7:31 PM
    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.