Al Shabaab hostages rescued in Kismayu

  • PDF

Addis Ababa, 1 June 2014 (WIC) - Some 30 civilian hostages who were on Friday morning kidnapped from a village near Kismayu town were later rescued in a daring operation involving around 200 Interim Juba Administration forces (IJA) aided by AMISOM Kenya Defence Forces air surveillance capability.

The hostages were driven under duress to the al Shabaab stronghold of Jilib using different routes that the victims could not identify.

According to a press release AMISOM Public Information Services sent to WIC, their movements were however detected by the AMISOM KDF air surveillance team, who worked in close coordination with the IJA forces.

The forces then surrounded the area forcing the terrorists to flee, leaving the 30 civilians unhurt.

The freed hostages were brought to Kismayu in a convoy of over 15 vehicles to their huge relief of the families and friends.
The hostages, all of whom were women and men khat vendors, said the terrorists kept threatening to slit their throat or cut off their limbs, during the ordeal, accusing them of spying for the Somalia Federal Government and AMISOM.

“We were ambushed by al-Shabaab militia in a place called Qandal. They were almost ten in number. They kidnaped us and confiscated our cellphones and drove us far taking us round and round all-day. We don’t know where they took us. The soldiers rescued us,” says Mohamed Ahmed Yussuf one of rescued hostages.

Brigadier General Ismail Sahardid, the Chief of Staff for the Interim Juba Administration in Kismayu, which is a federal state within Somalia thanked AMISOM and the local community for their support in tracking down the al-Shabaab kidnappers and finally rescuing the hostages.

“Our forces were supported by AMISOM aerial surveillance. After tracking the kidnapers at long last with the help of the God we successfully rescued the civilian hostages who numbered 30. We burnt one vehicle of the Al-Shabaab kidnapers,” the Brigadier General said, speaking after the forces arrived in Kismayu.

Al-Shabaab terrorists have resorted to such acts of kidnap and extortion rackets in order to raise funds for their callous activities since losing out most of their major economic hubs like Kismayu, Marka and other cities in Somalia that have since been liberated by joint AMISOM and the Somalia National Army.

As the hostages finally reunited with their loved ones back in Kismayu, women cuddled and shared tears of joy together while the men raised their clinched fists shouting “victory to Jubaland, victory to Somalia, victory to AMISOM, down with Al-Shabaab”.

Kismayu, one of the key strategic towns of Somalia was rescued from al Shabaab terror in 2012 through joint operations by the Somali National Army and AMISOM troops.