Sunday, October 16, 2011

Update: Kenya Prepares to Enter Somalia to Rescue Foreign Kidnap Victims

As a follow-up to my recent postings on the kidnapping of four European women who were abducted in Kenya and taken to neighboring Somalia, the Kenyan military has begun assembling troops at the Kenyan-Somalian border for deployment into Somalia in coming days to pursue Al-Shabaab militants.

In recent weeks, four women, a Briton, a Frenchwoman and two Spaniards have been kidnapped and taken to Somalia. Internal Security Minister George Saitoti and his Defense Ministry counterpart, Yusuf Haji, on Saturday (October 15) announced that the government had invoked Article 51 of the United Nations Chapter that pronounces self-defense as an inherent right and which is also in keeping with the Kenyan Constitution to defend its citizens.

COMMENT: According to Kenyan governmental press statements, the nation's security forces have two objectives in entering Somalia: (1) Push Al-Shabaab far from the Kenyan-Somalian border and (2) Rescue the four women being held, presumably for ransom, although no demands have yet been made for any of them.

The two Spanish women have been identified as Montserrat Serra and Blanca Thiebaut, both of whom work for aid agency Medicines Sans Frontiers (MSF) and were being driven back to their base camp when gunmen kidnapped them and and shot their Kenyan driver, leaving him for dead. Fortunately, the driver has since been airlifted to the Nairobi Hospital where he is receiving treatment for neck injuries sustained in the attack.

We'll keep our readers abreast of the Kenyan initiative as information becomes available.

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