German Aid Worker Kidnapped at Gunpoint in Somalia | Germany| News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 12.02.2008
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German Aid Worker Kidnapped at Gunpoint in Somalia

The aid organization German Agro Action said one of its workers in the disputed northern region of Somalia has been abducted. The German Foreign Ministry has promised its support in finding and freeing the hostage.

Man with a gun

Attacks and kidnappings of foreigners in Somalia have been increasing

The unidentified aid worker was captured on Tuesday, Feb. 12, when militia members ambushed his vehicle at the border between two breakaway Somali states Somaliland and Puntland, according to reports.

"They were two Germans who went out this morning to the outskirt of Era Gabo ... On their way they were ambushed by gunmen who opened fire at their pick-up truck, wounding the driver," Mohamed Haji Ismail, a Somali working for German Agro Action (GAA), also known as Deutsche Welthungerhilfe, said according to Reuters. "In the confusion, the gunmen only kidnapped the German man who worked for GAA."

GAA confirmed the abduction but did not identify the hostage's identity. The Bonn-based aid organization has been present in Somalia since 2001, where it seeks to secure drinking water, combat food shortages, develop agriculture and preserve natural resources.


Somalia is located on the Horn of Africa

Germany's Foreign Ministry in Berlin also promised support following news of the kidnapping.

"We're following up on tips and seeking clarification on the issue," a spokesperson told the DPA news agency.

Somalia has suffered under civil war-like conditions since the 1990s. Violence increased last year after a conflict between the Islamic Courts Union and local warlords. The unrest was temporarily quelled by military involvement from the United States.

Attacks on foreigners have led many aid organizations to pull their workers out of the country.

Late last year, two representatives of Doctors Without Borders were kidnapped and later released. In January, three more staff from the same medical aid group were killed by a roadside bomb.

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