Islamists demand ransom for Kenyan captives

March 26, 2009 12:00 am

, MANDERA, Kenya, Mar 26 – Somali militiamen who abducted five Kenyan Ministry of Education officials in Mandera on Wednesday are now demanding ransom.

A police source quoting emissaries sent to secure the officials’ release told Capital News that no agreement has been settled yet with the Al Shabaab militants.

“They have not stated any amount yet, but they have insisted they want money,” he said.

“We are in constant touch with the emissaries and we have told them to try the best they can to bring the officials home. The issue of money is not important at the moment,” he said.

Two prominent elders in Mandera are in Somalia negotiating the release of the five education officials.

Police Spokesman Erick Kiraithe said the five officials were still held at Bula Hawa by Thursday morning where negotiations were in progress.

“They (emissaries) have established contact with local leaders and we hope to get a good response. There is also the issue of money the militia group is demanding but we are waiting to hear from our emissaries. We have told them to do the best they can,” he said.

Those abducted include Wajir South District Education Officer Moses Mwangi, North Eastern Provincial Education Quality Assurance Officer Onchiri Onyancha, District Education Quality Assurance Officer North Eastern Province Charles Nyakundi, Early Childhood Education Officer Wajir South District Abdullahi Madey and a driver with the Ministry of Education North Eastern Province a Mr Abdikadir.

According to police, the officials were abducted at about 11.30 am when they ventured inside Somalia.

“The five had crossed the border from Mandera town to go to the border village of Bula Hawa inside Somalia for shopping,” Police Commissioner Mohammed Hussein Ali said in a statement.

And even as the police assured relatives of those abducted that negotiations for their release were at advanced stages, there were fears the officials would be taken deeper into Somalia.

“This is a dangerous group and that is why we want the negotiations to bear fruit before they decide to go with them deeper into their country. We don’t want it to take long,” Mr Kiraithe said.


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