Somalia: Two kidnapped DDG employees alive and well


Category: DDG, Horn of Africa

The two employees from the Danish Refugee Council's demining unit DDG who were kidnapped in Somalia are alive and well.

The Danish Refugee Council can confirm that there has been contact with the two kidnapped employees Poul Thisted from Denmark and American Jessica Buchanan today Sunday.

"I have been told that contact was established today, and I am pleased to announce that both Poul and Jessica are doing well given the circumstances," says Ann Mary Olsen, head of the Danish Refugee Council's International Department.

The two employees were kidnapped in the town of Galkayo in Central Somalia on Tuesday 25 October in the afternoon upon visiting a project site in the area. Today's contact is the first sign of life received since the kidnapping happened.

"It has been some very long days as we have been waiting for signs of life. It is truly a relief that we have now received the message that they are as well as possible their circumstances taken into consideration," says Mary Ann Olsen.

The Danish Refugee Council and the Danish Demining Group has in recent days appealed directly to the traditional leaders, representatives of the clans, and influential Somali networks, to mobilize support to help facilitate a rapid release of the two kidnapped employees - an effort that has been echoed in Somalia.

The Danish Refugee Council is recognized and respected in the region as an established aid agency that has worked in Somalia since 1998. Today, the organisation provides relief and assistance to around 450,000 people in the Horn of Africa - a region known to be difficult accessible for most aid agencies because of decades of conflict and complex power structures.