Somali cop endangered aid workers' lives

Money has put the life of two foreign aid workers in Somalia in danger for three months.

American Jessica Buchanan and Dane Poul Thisted, who were rescued by US Navy SEALs in a raid last week, were abducted by pirates at the Dadaab refugee camp in October. One of their colleagues, a Somali national, was suspected by police to be involved in the kidnapping. But now, Fredrik Palsson, the Danish Refugee Council’s global safety adviser, said a crooked cop helped in the abduction.

Palsson told CNN nongovernmental organizations are required to have security while traveling in certain parts in Somalia. But guards operate only in specific areas so aid workers crossing regions need to change vehicles and switch guards.

What happened, Palsson said, was that one of the guards was bribed by the pirates to be their accomplice. The guard replaced the regular security detail with corrupt ones. And when the the aid workers changed vehicles, they were driven away.

The case is unsurprising in Somalia, which has been without a stable government for two decades. Somalia expert Ken Menkhaus, in an article published in the Los Angeles Times, said corruption has been rampant in the country and that government security forces are “virtually indistinguishable” from clan militias.

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About the author

  • Ravelo jennylei

    Jenny Lei Ravelo

    Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex Senior Reporter based in Manila. She covers global health, with a particular focus on the World Health Organization, and other development and humanitarian aid trends in Asia Pacific. Prior to Devex, she wrote for ABS-CBN, one of the largest broadcasting networks in the Philippines, and was a copy editor for various international scientific journals. She received her journalism degree from the University of Santo Tomas.