DADAAB, KENYA (BNO NEWS) — Security forces in Somalia have rescued four foreign aid workers who were abducted by unidentified gunmen during an ambush in neighboring Kenya last week, officials said on Monday. One of the kidnappers was killed.
Both Somali and Kenyan security forces were involved in Monday’s operation, which was launched after authorities received information about the whereabouts of the hostages. Somali soldiers had earlier stopped a vehicle carrying supplies for the hostage-takers and arrested three occupants who led security forces to a compound near the town of Dhobley.
The four aid workers were all rescued safely, but one kidnapper was killed during the operation.
The initial ambush happened on Friday in Kenya at the Dadaab refugee camp, the world’s largest refugee camp which is located about 75 kilometers (46 miles) west of the border with Somalia, when gunmen ambushed a convoy carrying aid workers from the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC).
Authorities said three people were injured during the attack, including a driver identified as Abdi Ali who later died at a local hospital while receiving medical treatment. The four aid workers, identified as 40-year-old Glenn Costes from the Philippines, 37-year-old Steven Dennis and 38-year-old Qurat-Ul-Ain Sadozai from Canada and 33-year-old Astrid Sehl from Norway, were taken by the gunmen.
“We are happy we’re back. We’re alive and we are happy this has ended,” Qurat-Ul-Ain Sadozai told reporters after the freed aid workers were flown to the Kenyan capital Nairobi. They appeared to be exhausted but showed no injuries, although a Kenyan official said they had received some form of medical attention.
NRC Secretary General Elisabeth Rasmusson, who was in the same convoy during Friday’s attack but was unhurt, said the organization is thankful their employees have safely returned to Kenya. “This is a day of relief for us and for the families of the abducted,” she said in a brief statement.
It was not immediately known who was behind the attack, or if the group specifically targeted the aid workers.