Somali says troops free 4 foreign aid workers abducted in Kenya
MOGADISHU, July 2 (Xinhua) — Somali forces had freed four foreign aid workers kidnapped from Kenya by gunmen three days ago, state radio said Monday.
“The Somali government forces managed to forcibly free four foreign aid workers safe and sound,” state-run Mogadishu Radio reported.
However, Kenyan authorities said Kenyan and Somali troops rescued the hostages in a joint mission.
The aid workers from Canada, Pakistan, Philippines and Norway were seized from one of the refugee camps in Dadaab region of northern Kenya, which house hundreds of thousands of Somali refugees fleeing famine, drought and violence. Their Kenyan driver was killed when they were abducted on Friday.
The four relief workers are with the Norwegian Refugee Council.
The state radio quoted a government military official as saying the rescue operation took place close to the border between Kenya and Somalia.
Ismail Sahardeed, a senior Somali commander confirmed one of the hostage-takers was killed during the gunfight while three others were captured alive.
Gunmen from Somalia often take hostages from the Kenya side through the long porous border.
Since Kenya sent troops across the border into Somalia last October to fight militants, northern and parts of eastern Kenya have been hit by a series of blasts, many of which targeted local security forces and humanitarian workers.
At least 17 people were killed and more than 65 others injured on Sunday after gunmen attacked two churches in the Garissa region of northern Kenya, but no arrests have been made yet.