Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Islamist rebels seize two aid workers in southern Somalia

Fighters loyal to Somalia’s al Qaeda-inspired group have apprehended two officers working with international aid agencies in the town of Baidoa, 155 miles south of Mogadishu.
clearpxl A large number of heavily armed al Shabaab fighters raided the office of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), arresting Ali Moallim Black, a security officer for the agency, Shabelle Radio said on Wednesday morning quoting local residents.
The group also detained Abdirzak Mohamed, a staff member with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), at his in home, the report added.
The reason for the workers’ arrests is still unclear. However, the town, which was a transitional capital for the former president of the Somali transitional federal government, Abduulahi Yusuf Ahmed, has been under al Shabaab control for more than two years.
The incident occurred only a week after the militant group said it was lifting a two-year ban on international relief organizations as result of a devastating drought that has engulfed many parts of south-central Somalia, forcing thousands of Somalis to flee to Kenya, Ethiopia, and the capital, Mogadishu, in search for food and water.
Neither Al Shabaab nor the aid agencies have yet to comment on the arrests.