Business, Finance & Economics

2 aid workers kidnapped in northern Kenya


A security officer keeps order for hundreds of people desperate to move to a less crowded refugee camp in Dadaab, the world's biggest refugee complex August 20, 2009 in Dadaab, Kenya.


Spencer Platt

NAIROBI, Kenya — Two foreign aid workers were abducted from inside the Dadaab refugee camp in northern Kenya on Thursday by armed men in a raid in which their driver was reportedly shot and wounded.

The two Spanish women working for Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) were abducted at gunpoint and, according to Kenya police, were driven away in their hijacked 4x4 in the direction of the border with Somalia about 60 miles to the east.

“Two female aid workers working for MSF were this afternoon kidnapped by suspected Al Shabaab militants in Dadaab refugee camp," regional police commander Leo Nyongesa told the Reuters news agency.

In a statement MSF confirmed that two international staff were missing and that one of its drivers had been hospitalized in the attack.

Dadaab is a complex of refugee camps now home to well over 400,000 Somalis. It was established in 1991 but has swelled in recent months as tens of thousands of new arrivals have fled the war and famine.

It is now the world’s largest refugee camp and is at the center of the humanitarian relief effort working to mitigate the effects of a regional drought and a famine in parts of southern Somalia.

This latest kidnapping bring to four the number of foreigners abducted in Kenya over the last five weeks.

A British tourist was shot dead and his wife kidnapped from a coastal resort near Lamu Island on September 11. Three weeks later a French woman was seized from her rented house on the beach close to Lamu.