News24

Danish, US hostages in Somalia are OK

2011-11-06 17:06

Copenhagen - Two humanitarian workers kidnapped late last month in Somalia, a Dane and and American, are reportedly well their Danish employer said on Sunday, ruling out negotiations with their captors.

"There is news of Poul and Jessica being well, their circumstances taken into consideration," an official of the Danish Refugee Council said in a statement.

Poul Thisted, 60, of Denmark and American Jessica Buchanan, 32, were working for the DRC's demining unit when gunmen seized them on October 25 in central Somalia's semi-autonomous Galmudug region.

The statement dismissed as "rumours" media reports suggesting contacts with the hostage-takers.

"It is important to emphasise that the Danish Refugee Council has a policy which clearly states that the organisation does not negotiate with kidnappers," Ann Mary Olsen, the head of DRC's international department, said in the statement.

She noted that DRC had appealed for help from elders, clan leaders and the general public, adding: "We are incredibly grateful for the help and support we meet from the Somali society. We hope it will help facilitate a rapid release of our two kidnapped employees."

Elders in the region said last Thursday that the pair were reportedly being held for ransom in the coastal Hobyo district, a notorious pirate den.

A Somali colleague seized at the same time was released and is being questioned by police, according to local sources.

Security officials in Galmudug said they had arrested several people in connection with the incident.

The kidnappings were the latest in a string of abductions by armed gangs from the war-torn nation, one of the world's most dangerous regions for aid workers.