Four Kenyans kidnapped by Al-shabaab in Mandera freed

Mandera ambulance

An ambulance at Mandera County Referral Hospital on January 31, 2022. Four people who had been kidnapped while aboard the ambulance by suspected Al-shabaab militants have been released.

Photo credit: Manase Otsialo I Nation Media Group

Four people including two medical officers, a patient and an ambulance driver kidnapped on Tuesday by suspected Al-shabaab militants in Mandera have been released.

The medics and the patient were released on Wednesday afternoon while the driver was set free Thursday morning.

Lafey Member of County Assembly (MCA) Adan Hussen Rahoy said all the victims were in their homes ‘safe and sound.’

“I can confirm that all the four victims of the carjacking incident on Tuesday have been released and are in their homes. The first three came back yesterday (Wednesday) afternoon while the driver arrived this morning,” Mr Rahoy said.

He said local clan elders were used in negotiating for the release of the four from their captives.

“Clan elders from Lafey engaged their counterparts from Somalia who helped in negotiating for the release of the victims,” he said.

Further negotiations are underway for the militants to release the ambulance belonging to the Mandera County Government.

A ransom was not paid to secure the freedom of the four, according to the MCA.

By Wednesday, Mandera County Commissioner Onesmus Kyatha indicated that the Somalia administration had been reached and requested to help in rescuing the victims. 

“We have assembled the necessary machinery and we are in touch with our counterparts across the border. We have made appeals to the Somalia administration and the local clan elders to intervene. We are looking forward to getting back both the occupants and the vehicle,” Mr Kyatha said on Wednesday.

The four are 40-year-old patient Moulid Abdi, Hassan Shaaban (driver), Abdirashid Billow Hussein and Aden Dai who work at Lafey Sub-County Hospital.

“I am optimistic that the ambulance will be released too because this is a vehicle used in saving lives and not anything else. Those holding it need to understand that it is the same vehicle used to transport even their sick relatives whenever they need proper medication,” Mr Rahoy said.

Those released were transported by a good Samaritan close to the Kenya/Somalia border before they walked back into Lafey.

The four were kidnapped as they transported a patient from Lafey to Elwak Sub-County Hospital on Tuesday evening.