Somali Traditional Leaders Condemn Kidnapping of Aid Workers

Traditional leaders in Somalia have condemned the kidnapping of aid workers Jessica Buchanan and Dane Poul Hagen Thisted, saying the act goes against Somali values.

On Tuesday (Nov. 15), traditional leaders, together with influential clan members and elders, said the act is the complete opposite of the Somali value of treating guests with respect and dignity, and called for the immediate release of the two.

Ana Mary Olsen, head of the Danish Refugee Council international department, welcomed the support.

“Knowing the importance of the clan leaders as the traditional power holders it is encouraging to receive this support. We are grateful and hopeful that this will help us [in] getting our colleagues back who are held hostage in Somalia,” she said.

Following the kidnapping in Oct. 25, government leaders and civil society groups marched on the streets to express their anger. In Galkayo alone, where the kidnapping took place, about 600 people joined the protest.

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About the author

  • 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.

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