Wednesday, July 04, 2012
Kenyan police arrested four Somali men allegedly linked to the kidnapping of foreign aid workers who were rescued on July 1 in Somalia after two days in captivity, Albert Muchiri, district commissioner for Dadaab, said.
The suspects, detained along the Somalia-Kenya border on Sunday, are being held for questioning at a police station in Dadaab, 416 kilometres northeast of the capital Nairobi, Muchiri said Tuesday in a phone interview from the town.
Kenyan and Somali troops freed the hostages after trailing them and the kidnappers and engaging in a firefight that left one of the abductors dead while at least two others escaped.
The four people seized from the Dadaab refugee complex in northeastern Kenya are from the Philippines, Norway and Canada, and work for the Norwegian Refugee Council.
One of the Canadians, 37-year-old Steven Dennis, is from Toronto. Qurat-Ul-Ain, 38, is reportedly from Gatineau, Que.
NRC spokesperson Tiril Skarstein said the four would remain in Nairobi, where they are together with close colleagues, until at least Wednesday. Earlier, NRC director of advocacy and information Rolf Vestvik said the workers would decide later whether they wanted to return to their jobs or not.
In a joint statement released on Tuesday, the NRC staffers said they were happy to be alive and thankful to those who assisted in their rescue.
“This has been a very challenging experience — but overall we are all in a good condition considering the circumstances,” the statement said. “While we are happy to be free again, our thoughts go to the family of our colleague who was killed. We hope our injured colleagues recover quickly.”
Abdi Ali, a driver from Kenya, was killed in the attack that injured two others, a driver and a deputy manager for NRC.
The aid workers also said they hoped NRC work in Dadaab, a refugee camp of more than 460,000 people in northeastern Kenya, would continue. The Oslo-based organization temporarily suspended some activities in the wake of Friday’s abduction and said it would conduct a review to determine its next steps in the restive region.