Lifesaving Aid Operations Continue in Dadaab Despite Recent Kidnapping Incident

Trucks carrying aid at Dagahaley refugee camp in Dadaab, Kenya. Photo by: Internews Network / CC BY-NC-ND

Aid agencies working in the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya have given assurances that lifesaving operations in the camp will continue. This is despite the kidnapping there of two Spanish aid workers by suspected members of the Somalia-based militant group al-Shabab.

“This is a very serious matter, but food distribution and provision of water are continuing. Registration centers and health facilities are still operating,” said Ann Wangari, area coordinator for Lutheran World Federation Dadaab, according to The Christian Century.

The United Nations has suspended all non-lifesaving aid operations in Dadaab and imposed restrictions on staff movement following the kidnapping of the two aid workers, who work as logisticians for Medecins Sans Frontieres.

>> UN Temporarily Halts Some Aid Operations in Kenya Refugee Camp

Kenyan authorities are pursuing the kidnappers in a mission to rescue the two aid workers. Somali officers assisting the rescue operations said the two aid workers are being moved to an al-Shabab stronghold in Somalia. The Kenyan government, meanwhile, has announced it will be sending troops directly into Somalia for the first time in years.

MSF Spain director Jose Antonio Bastos, however, has expressed concern over plans for an armed rescue of the two MSF staff.

“The organization is very worried because any use of force could put the security of our colleagues and their quick release at risk,” Bastos said, according to Reuters.

Meanwhile, relief operations in other parts of Kenya and within Somalia have been given a new funding boost through grants provided by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to two international organizations. Mercy Corps received $2.5 million from the foundation for its emergency work in northeastern Kenya, while the International Medical Corpsreceived a $1.6 million grant for its emergency nutrition and health programs in communities across Ethiopia and Somalia.

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About the author

  • Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.