A Thoughtful, Analytical Approach to NGO Security

Four UN staff kidnapped in Somalia

Update - Al Shabaab spokesman Sheikh Muktar Robow Mansoor is claiming that all four kidnapped staff have been released and are “... with me with their luggage and we are going to hand over the U.N. officers soon. They are free now.”

On 16 March gunmen kidnapped four UN aid workers in Wajid, Somalia. The UN staffers were preparing to fly from Wajid airport when they were seized. The presence of armed escorts did not deter the kidnappers. No shots were fired.

The kidnapped staff included one Azerbaijani and one Ghanian, both with UNDP, one French staff member of WFP, and a Somali from the UN Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS).

Kidnappings of aid workers and journalists are common in Somalia. Although many victims are released unharmed after the payment of ransom the process can drag on for months. A Canadian journalist and an Australian photographer abducted last August are still being held. Four aid workers with Action Contre la Faim and two Kenyan pilots have been held since November.

Foreign aid workers travelling to Somalia should ensure their financial affairs are in order and their families understand their wishes in the event they are kidnapped.

Somalia: Unknown Gunmen Kidnap UN Aid Workers
hawiye gunmen kidnap UN aid workers

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