Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Two Kenyans held by Somali pirates 'are cousins' - Seafarers Union

PHOTO | FILE Seafarers Union of Kenya secretary-general Andrew Mwangura (left) addressing a press conference in the past. The two Kenyan engineers abducted by suspected Somali pirates last month in Mogadishu are close family members from Nairobi’s Rongai area, the Seafarers Union of Kenya has revealed.

PHOTO | FILE Seafarers Union of Kenya secretary-general Andrew Mwangura (left) addressing a press conference in the past. The two Kenyan engineers abducted by suspected Somali pirates last month in Mogadishu are close family members from Nairobi’s Rongai area, the Seafarers Union of Kenya has revealed. 

By GALGALO BOCHA
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The two Kenyan engineers abducted by suspected Somali pirates last month in Mogadishu are close family members from Nairobi’s Rongai area, the Seafarers Union of Kenya has revealed.

The union’s secretary-general Andrew Mwangura said families of the two, who are cousins, were expected home two days before their abduction after completing their contract in Mogadishu.

They were kidnapped on January 12 in Hodan District within the Somali capital Mogadishu.

However, Mr Mwangura told Nation.co.ke that family members had requested that their names be withheld to avoid compromising their safety in the hands of their abductors.

“The families of the two Kenyan hostages were not aware of their abduction until they read the story published in the Daily Nation on Monday. They contacted us saying they last communicated to them on January 10,” added Mr Mwangura in the interview.

The Seafarers Union of Kenya boss added that the two who were employees of East African Construction Company have been in and out of Somalia carrying construction projects in Mogadishu.

“One of them is diabetic and we are exploring means of sending him drugs. The abductors have contacted the company supervisor in Somalia stating their demand,” he added.

The group behind the abduction of the two Kenyan civil engineers is reportedly under control of a pirate leader identified as Mohammed Gafanje.

The gang have demanded a ransom of $1 million (Sh86 million) to free them.
Mr Mwangura added that the two are currently under captive in the pirates-infested Galgaduud region of Harardhere District.

Somali pirates are currently holding captive six other Kenyans, one American journalist and three employees of Sweden’s International Aid Services (IAS) kidnapped in Somalia in July 2012.

The two Kenyan aid workers and a Somali doctor were kidnapped in northern Somalia’s semi-autonomous Puntland region in July 2012.

The hostages were then taken to a known location under the control of heavily armed pirates.

Other Kenyan hostages in Somalia are two Kenya Defence Force (KDF) Corporal Evans Mutoro and Sergent Jonathan Kangogo.

The two hostages were kidnapped in Wajir on July 23, 2011 while on duty, as they were taking supplies to their Kenya Defence Forces colleagues.

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