Elders’ help sought in search for aid worker

Somali and Kenyan governments intensify the search for a humanitarian worker who disappeared last Monday at the Dadaab Refugee Complex.

Sunday September 25 2011

The Dadaab refugee camp, which was built for 90,000 has over 380,000 Somali refugees. Photo/FILE

Photo/FILE The Dadaab refugee camp, which was built for 90,000 has over 380,000 Somali refugees.  

By GALGALO BOCHA [email protected]

Somali and Kenyan governments have intensified the search for a humanitarian worker who disappeared last Monday at the Dadaab Refugee Complex.

North Eastern provincial police officer Leo Nyongesa said “bandits” took away the Care Kenya staff and an agency vehicle he was driving to an unknown location in Somalia.

“The incident is normal banditry. The Care Kenya vehicle was taken into Somalia and since there is no effective government there to help us trace him, we have involved border peace committees to rescue him,” he said.

Mr Nyongesa said Somali elders were resourceful in the rescue efforts.

The police boss was non-committal on whether or not the terror group al Shabaab was involved in the abduction of the man, even as sources indicate involvement of Anti-Terrorism Police Unit in his pursuit.

Care Kenya confirmed to the Nation that its employee, a driver, was carjacked in the Hagadera refugee camp at the complex.

“The driver is a Kenyan. He and the vehicle are missing and the motive of the attack is still unknown,” said Care-Kenya’s Communication Officer Juliet Otieno.

Ms Otieno further said the organisation was working with Kenya police in the search for the driver, and advised against speculation on the matter.

Ms Otieno further indicated that the incident has not hampered crucial operations of the organisation in the refugee camps.

“Care Kenya is continuing its life-saving activities in the camps, including water and food distribution to the over 400,000 refugees.

“However, non-life saving services have been temporarily suspended,” she stated.

The agency is among dozens of others involved in various activities in response to the food and drought crisis facing refugees from Somalia and the Horn of Africa region.

Few months, ago the government alleged that al Shabaab militiamen had infiltrated the three refugee camps that make the complex.