The aid agency International Aid Services (IAS) said on Monday that the three Kenyan aid workers who were abducted last week in the restive northern Somalia are safe.The IAS said in a statement that it has also established groups that are engaged in talks with various groups in Kenya and Somalia to secure the release of the aid workers who were abducted on July 11 in Puntland. “No demands have so far been presented by the group. The hostages are reported well and have been taken to a known location under the control of pirates,” IAS Executive Director Leif Zetterlund said in the statement. The three Kenyan workers were attacked by an armed group of people near Galkayo in Puntland in an incident which also left a local staff shot and critically injured at about 17:30 on July 11. The team was travelling in two vehicles including an escort car with three armed Puntland Police Officers who were overpowered by the attackers. Both vehicles were hijacked by the pirates. The aid agency said it has also confirmed that a certain pirate group was involved in the kidnap on the team who was on mission monitoring water and education programs in the region. “IAS condemns this serious act of aggression against humanitarian staff in the strongest terms. We urge the attackers to immediately and unconditionally release our staff,” Zetterlund said. Several UN and aid agencies have offices in the Galakyo town, which enjoys relative peace compared to other regions in the south of Horn of African nation controlled mostly by rebels. The latest abductions are among several kidnappings of foreigners who have occurred in recent weeks in northern Kenya which is close to the border with largely lawless Somalia and which has been blamed on Al-Shabaab. The kidnapping is also the sixth incident involving foreigners by Somali insurgents in the past seven months, following kidnappings of British and French tourists, Spanish women working for MSF and Norwegian Refugee Council. The latest abduction came as Kenyan troops are pursuing the militants in southern Somalia to dismantle Al-Shabaab agents it said were behind the recent killings, kidnappings and terror activities on her territory. The aid agency said it’s in touch with relevant local authorities in Galkayo who are helping it to secure the release of the abducted staff. The Horn of Africa which has no effective central government for more than two decades is one of the world’s most risky regions for aid workers. Kenya blamed the group for a string of attacks and kidnappings in Kenya, including those of four Europeans. The Kenyan government says the kidnappings threaten tourism, a key source of revenue for the country. However, the Al-Qaeda allied insurgents have denied responsibility and have demanded the Kenyans withdraw from their territory or face fresh terror attacks.
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