Gunmen kidnap German ICRC aid worker in Somali capital

The wreckage of a destroyed van is seen at the scene of a car explosion in Hamarweyne district of Mogadishu, Somalia.

:: Unidentified gunmen kidnapped a senior German staff member of the International Committee of the Red Cross in the Somali capital Mogadishu on Wednesday, police and her co-workers said.

“We got the report minutes after she was abducted and now we are searching the whole area. We hope we shall find her,” Major Mohamed Hussein, a police officer, told Reuters.

ICRC staff said the kidnappers snatched their colleague from inside the Swiss-based agency’s compound in Mogadishu and took her out via a back door, avoiding the ICRC’s security guards who were stationed at the main gate.

Residents said the district where the abduction occurred was sealed off by police and other security forces afterwards.

The Horn of Africa country has suffered lawlessness since 1991 when warlords ousted dictator Siad Barre and then turned on each other. Major armed conflict has abated in recent years, however, allowing elections for president and parliament.

On Tuesday, unknown gunmen shot dead a Somali employee of the World Health Organization in Mogadishu.

A relative of the victim named her as Maryan Abdullahi and said she was targeted while visiting the Bakara market in the capital to buy items for her wedding next week. The motive for the shooting was not clear and the gunmen escaped.

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