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Aid workers kidnapped in Somalia, witness says

Aid workers kidnapped in Somalia, witness says

Somali gunmen kidnapped a Spanish and an Argentine aid worker with the medical charity Medecins sans Frontieres (MSF) yesterday in the latest such abduction in the semi-autonomous northern Puntland region.
Witnesses originally said the women - whose car was ambushed by a gang with machine-guns in Bosasso port as they drove to a local hospital - were both Spanish, but later clarified one was from South America.
"Six men armed with guns approached me, blocking the road," their Somali driver, who asked not to be named, told Reuters. "They hit me very badly and kidnapped the women in the car."
The abduction in Bosasso port came two days after gunmen in Puntland released French journalist Gwen Le Gouil, whom they kidnapped and held for eight days.
Known for its relative stability compared with chaotic south Somalia, Puntland has, however, become increasingly associated with kidnappings, hijackings and piracy.
Somali kidnappers are known to treat their captives well and almost never kill them, viewing them as an investment on which they expect a return in the form of ransom.
Local authorities said they were chasing the abductors, whose identity was unknown.
"We have sent troops to track down the kidnappers," said Yusuf Mumin Bidde, deputy governor of the local Bari region, which includes Bosasso.
Foreigners in Somalia often run foul of local clans by failing to seek permission to travel through their territories.
The women's translator said the assailants, armed with machine-guns, beat up their chauffeur before ordering them into another car and driving them off.
"The abductors had a Toyota Surf and they blocked the way we were going," added the translator, who asked not to be named.
An MSF spokesman, Javier Sancho, said the incident involved two employees working on a nutritional project for the Spanish branch of the international charity.
"We don't know in what circumstances or what exactly has happened," he told Spanish radio.


Updated : 2020-12-03 01:02 GMT+08:00