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Filipino, other aid workers freed by Somali captors

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Filipino, other aid workers freed by Somali captors

In this Monday, Feb. 20, 2012 file photo, parts of Dadaab, the world's largest refugee camp, are seen from a helicopter in northern Kenya. Attackers ambushed a convoy of aid workers Friday, June 29, 2012, at Dadaab near the Somali border and kidnapped international and Kenyan workers. The four foreign aid workers have been released in southern Somalia after a short gunfight, and were safe with the Kenyan army, officials said Monday, July 2, 2012. AP PHOTO/BEN CURTIS

Gunmen have freed four foreign aid workers, including a Filipino, who were held hostage in Somalia for three days after they were seized from the Dadaab refugee camp in neighboring Kenya, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Monday.

Citing a report from the Philippine Embassy in Nairobi, the DFA said kidnapped Filipino,  Glenn Costes, and his three colleagues were rescued somewhere on the Kenya-Somalia border.

The three other workers come from Norway, Canada and Pakistan.

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The four—all with the Norwegian Refugee Council—are “safe and on their way to Nairobi,” said DFA spokesperson Raul Hernandez.

According to a Somali military commander, their forces rescued the four in an overnight operation.

Colonel Abduallahi Moalim said government soldiers in the Lower Juber region bordering Kenya stopped a vehicle carrying supplies for the attackers on Sunday.

The Army seized three of the occupants who directed the soldiers to the hostages, Moalim said. They were held near the border between the towns of Diff and Dhobley.

Philippine Ambassador to Kenya Domingo Lucenario will meet Costes upon his arrival in the Kenyan capital.

Costes will undergo a medical checkup and debriefing, Hernandez said.

Medical officials with the German government aid agency GIZ said two other people were wounded during the kidnapping, which took place in the sprawling Ifo 2 camp around midday.

The NRC declined to comment but said it would be releasing a statement shortly. The group supports some 465,000 refugees in the Dadaab complex.

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Friday’s attack at the Dadaab refugee camp was the first abduction of foreigners from Kenya since the east African country sent troops into Somalia in October to crush an al-Qaida-linked insurgency. A Kenyan driver was shot dead during the kidnapping.

Dadaab, about 100 kilometers from Somalia, was set up in 1991 to house Somalis fleeing violence in their country. It has since become the world’s biggest refugee camp with almost 500,000 residents. With a report from AFP

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TAGS: DFA, Foreign affairs, Glenn Costes, Global Nation, International relations, Kenya, Kidnapping, Middle East & Africa, Philippines, Somalia
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