Spanish aid workers kidnapped by Somali militants set free


Kenyan security forces search near Liboi, Kenya's border town with Somalia, where two Spanish aid workers were kidnapped from Kenya's Dadaab refugee camp on October 15, 2011. The aid workers were logistics officers for Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF, Doctors Without Borders).


Tony Karumba

Two Spanish aid workers with Doctors Without Borders were freed by Somali kidnappers on Thursday.

Montserrat Serra and Blanca Thiebaut were taken from the Kenyan refugee camp Dadaab — the largest in the world — in October 2011.

The abductors were believed to be members of the Somali militant group Al Shabab.

Their driver was shot and injured during the incident. It is still unclear how the women were rescued or escaped their captors. No details were given.

The kidnapping was one of several during that period and the Associated Press reported that it was another factor encouraging Kenyan troops to enter Somalia that year as a part of an African Union force.

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The Kenyan military had sent in six helicopters and troops in search of the women who were taken into Somalia by foot.

Kenya also pledged troops to quell the Islamist insurgency and remain as a part of the peacekeeping force in Somalia.

The kidnapping of the two Spanish women saw the refugee camp temporarily cleared of foreign aid workers due to the increasing danger.

Aid workers live largely in guarded compounds around the camp and travel with armed escorts.

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