Save the Children Calls for Unconditional Release of British Aid Worker Abducted in Somalia

Aid workers with Save the Children in Leogane, Haiti. Two aid workers who work for the organization were abducted by gunmen in Somalia. Photo by: Robert King / Save the Children / CC BY-NC-ND Save the ChildrenCC BY-NC-ND

Save the Children is appealing for the immediate and unconditional release of a British security consultant who was abducted in Somalia on Oct. 14.

The British national was hired by the aid organization to determine whether it was safe for Save the Children to start up operations in the Somali town of Adado, news agencies report. 

“Save the Children is extremely concerned for his welfare and is calling for his immediate and unconditional release,” the aid group said in a statement released to the media on Oct. 16.

A day later, the relief group provided an update on the British security consultant, saying that he is “well.” 

“He is being looked after and is in good spirits,” said Anna Ford, Save the Children’s spokeswoman in Nairobi, as quoted by BBC.

According to news agencies and as confirmed by a Save the Children statement, a group of gunmen seized the Briton and his Somali colleague from a building used as staff residence. 

The Somali national was freed unharmed on Friday. He has communicated with his family, according to an official involved in the investigation of the incident. The official requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak with the media, The Associated Press says

The British Foreign Office said it was ”urgently investigating” reports on the kidnapping but declined to provide further information, according to CNN.

Save the Children has been working in Somalia for more than four decades to expand access to food, basic health care and education. This year, the U.K.-based relief group joined forces with two other divisions of the International Save the Children Alliance – from Denmark and Finland – for a unified presence in the violence-torn country, the Guardian reports

The British consultant is an avid skier and mountaineer who had worked for relief groups for several years, his friend told the Guardian.

Eliza Villarino contributed to this report.

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    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.