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

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Secret Service Chief Under Fire for White House Security Breach

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after recent intrusion at White House, says: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus 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.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid