, NAIROBI, Kenya Feb 23 – Two Kenyans working for a construction company in Mogadishu, Somalia have been abducted by suspected pirates who are now demanding a ransom of Sh80 million.
The two engineers were kidnapped by armed gunmen in Hodan District before they were transferred to Harardhere 700 kilometers North of Mogadishu, according to the Seafarers Union of Kenya.
“We are yet to contact the families but we have confirmed that Somali gunmen are holding the two Kenyan engineers,” the union’s Secretary General Andrew Mwangura told reporters in Mombasa, adding “Reports indicate that the two are safe and the gunmen are demanding ransom to release them.”
He said the militia group from Habargidir region has claimed responsibility for the kidnappings, after asking for the ransom.
According to Mwangura, the incident was first reported at the Malaysia piracy reporting center, but families of those abducted have not been informed.
The recent kidnapping brings the numbers of Kenyans held captive in Somalia to six among them two soldiers and four civilians.
Piracy cases had dropped significantly in the Indian Ocean since Kenya sent its troops to fight Al Shabaab militants in Somalia, while at the same time increasing surveillance of Naval ships.
Early this month a Kenyan-based merchant vessel was attacked by suspected Somali pirates off the coast of Somalia.
The ill-fated vessel, MV Andrea, was attacked by assailants aboard a white hulled skiff while underway to the port of Mogadishu, Somalia.