3 charged for kidnapping aid workers

July 6, 2012 1:52 pm
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Ahmed Hassan, Abdikadir Omar and Hassan Ali were arraigned before Principal Magistrate John Onyiego in Garissa where they faced four counts/FILE

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 6 – Three Somali nationals have been arraigned in a Garissa court over kidnapping of four aid workers from the Dadaab refugee camp.

Ahmed Hassan, Abdikadir Omar and Hassan Ali were arraigned before Principal Magistrate John Onyiego in Garissa where they faced four counts.

The three were charged with kidnap of Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) staff, being armed with dangerous weapons and also engaging in criminal activity by being members of the outlawed Al Shabaab militia group.

They were also accused of shooting and wounding Abdirizak Hussein, a member of staff of NRC.

They denied the charges and have been remanded in custody until July 12 to allow police time for more investigations and prefer more charges against them.

The three were arrested in Somalia during the rescue of the aid workers earlier this week.

The kidnapped foreigners are from Canada, Norway, Pakistan and the Philippines, all who worked for the Norwegian Refugee Council and had been rescued from Somalia earlier in the week by Somali military with assistance of Kenyan Defence Forces..

The kidnapping was the latest in a series of attacks in Dadaab, where gunmen last October seized two Spaniards working for Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders). They are still being held hostage in Somalia.

On Sunday, gunmen killed 17 people in the worst attack in a decade that Kenya blamed on the Shabaab, with masked insurgents hurling grenades into two churches in the eastern garrison town of Garissa before firing guns into the congregation.

The Shabaab still control large parts of southern Somalia, despite recent losses to African Union troops, government forces and Ethiopian soldiers, who have wrested several key bases from the insurgents.

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