News24

Somali rebels release hostage recording

2011-12-22 21:39

Nairobi - Somalia's Shebab rebels released an audio recording on Thursday they said was of a captured Burundian soldier from the AU force, pleading for his release and that of other colleagues.

The veracity of the recording could not be verified but an AFP correspondent said the man speaking was almost certainly Burundian.

The voice in the recording, speaking in Burundi's Kirundi language, said that he had been held hostage for ten months, and that he and other troops called on Burundian authorities to negotiate with the hard-line al-Qaeda-linked insurgents.

"There are other soldiers who were captured by Shebab, we implore you to begin these discussions with the Shebab," the recording said, e-mailed to reporters.

The AU force in Somalia - made up of some 10 000 Burundian, Ugandan and Djiboutian troops - are battling the Shebab in war-torn Mogadishu to protect the Western-backed government.

Shebab insurgents control large parts of southern Somalia but are facing increasing pressure from regional armies and government forces, with the rebels leaving fixed positions in Mogadishu in favour of guerrilla tactics.