SOMALIA: Puntland Police on Hunt for Aid Worker Kidnappers

Three aid workers from Kenya employed by Sweden-based humanitarian agency International Aid Service (IAS) which specializes in water projects were ambushed near Galkayo and kidnapped by a group of outlaws on Wednesday, 11 July 2012.
Four persons were wounded during the ambush and exchange of gunfire. Mr. Ahmed Isse Hassan, the IAS representative in Puntland, is critically wounded and is receiving emergency treatment at a medical center in Galkayo.
Two Puntland policemen with the Special Protection Unit (SPU) suffered gunshot wounds and are recovering, while a driver suffered minor injuries.
The group of attackers numbered 14 men driving three vehicles – one Toyota Surf, one Toyota pickup truck, and one Toyota station wagon. The attackers were carrying assault rifles and several PKM machineguns.
Aid workers on field assessment visit
The three kidnapped Kenyan nationals were identified as follows: Ms. Madoni, who is head of IAS delegation; Mr. Kariyota, who is an engineer working for IAS; and Mr. Abdinur Kambasse, staff for IAS.
The IAS team – driving one vehicle for the aid workers and one vehicle for security escort – left Garowe at 7:00 Wednesday morning en route to a field assessment to towns and villages in Mudug Region, Puntland State of Somalia.
The IAS team has conducted similar field assessments in Mudug Region three times since 2011.
The IAS team visited the towns of Harfo and Ba’adweyn along the main tarmac road, and the village of Rooh which is located northwest of Galkayo off the road.The aid workers returned via the same route, from Rooh through Ba’adweyn. As the aid workers passed at a bushy area along the main tarmac road approximately 6km north of Ba’adweyn en route to Garowe, a group of attackers ambushed the aid workers around 15:20 in the afternoon.
Puntland government mobilization
The attackers fled with their three Kenyan hostages southwards. Puntland security forces in Galkayo and Jariban districts, as well as Bali Busle town, were immediately mobilized to pursue the kidnappers and to shut off strategic roads to prevent the kidnappers from escaping. However, the kidnappers diverted direction towards southern Mudug Region.
The Governor of Mudug Region, Mr. Mohamed Jama Yusuf (Tigey), led the pursuit along with senior officers from Puntland Police Force. Governor Tigey mobilized local communities and it was reported that the local community in
Towfiq village resisted the kidnappers, and reportedly an exchange of gunfire erupted between the kidnappers and local militia.
Puntland security forces have been pursuing the kidnappers since Wednesday evening, covering a distance of over 200km of unpaved roads. Government intelligence has confirmed that the kidnappers have escaped towards Hobyo
district, outside of Puntland jurisdiction.
Government sources have also confirmed that Al Shabaab-linked militants have supplied the kidnappers with fuel and escorted them towards Hobyo coastal town.
Horseed Media


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