Wednesday June 7, 2023
Beledweyne (HOL) – Al Shabaab militants reportedly kidnapped five medical aid workers and a civilian man in the Hiiraan region on Tuesday afternoon. Local authorities confirmed the abduction on Wednesday.
The aid workers, members of the non-governmental organization Wardi, were abducted while travelling on the road between Farlibah and Baledweyne. Local reports indicated they had provided essential medical services to small villages in the Farlibah area, approximately 45 kilometres from Beledweyne.
Authorities in the local administration of Farlibah expressed their deep concern over the situation and revealed that government forces are currently engaged in operations to secure the release of the six individuals abducted by the Al-Shabaab group.
The whereabouts of the kidnapped aid workers and the civilian man remain unknown.
On Monday, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said that two aid workers died in Somalia between January and March this year, while a total of 112 access incidents were reported across the country during the period of the first quarter.
According to OCHA, movement restrictions were the most frequently reported access constraint and resulted from multiple factors including military operations.
The UN agency said security checkpoints, many of which are fee-bearing, hinder safe, timely and unimpeded humanitarian access.