(2 Jul 2012) Four aid workers kidnapped at gunpoint from Kenya’s largest refugee camp arrived back in Kenya’s capital aboard a military helicopter on Monday after a pro-government Somali militia group rescued the four inside Somalia.
The four workers from the Norwegian Refugee Council smiled and waved after landing in Nairobi.
“We are happy. We are back. We are alive and we are happy this has ended,” said Qurat-Ul-Ain Sadazai, the leader of the group.
The four, who were rescued in an operation by Ras Kamboni militia, didn’t comment on their abduction or release and were taken to be de-briefed first.
Ras Kamboni works alongside Somali government and Kenyan military forces. Kenya sent troops to Somalia last October to hunt Islamist al-Shabab militants.
A militia representative said his group heard of Friday’s kidnapping in Kenya’s Dadaab refugee camp and pursued the kidnappers.
Ras Kamboni fighters caught up with the kidnappers Monday morning about 60 kilometres (37 miles) inside Somalia.
Ras Kamboni’s leader, Ahmed Madobe, said his men killed one of the kidnappers but that the other three escaped. The rescue happened in the village of Alu Gulay.
The four rescued workers were taken to the Somali town of Dhobley before being flown to Nairobi.
They were kidnapped when four gun men attacked their two-vehicle convoy on Friday, killing one Kenyan driver and wounding two other Kenyans.
The gunmen took one of the two vehicles and the four workers.
The group later abandoned the vehicle and began walking toward the Somali border.
The Norwegian Refugee Council said the four released hostages were: Astrid Sehl (Norway) 33; Glenn Costes (Philippines) 40; Steven Dennis (Canada) 37; and Qurat-Ul-Ain Sadazai (Canada) 38, who is of Pakistani origin.
A Kenyan police commander said the aid group had originally arranged to have armed security travel with it but cancelled the security arrangements at the last minute.
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