Somalis stand up against kidnapping of aid workers


Category: Press releases, From Somalia, DDG

Traditional leaders and civil society in Somalia mobilize strong support for a quick and safe release of Jessica Buchanan and Poul Thisted. The growing opposition is condemning the kidnapping as an act violating Somali values.

Large groups of Somali people gathering, shouting slogans and requesting those responsible to ensure a quick release – this is what opposition looks like in Central Somalia where numerous demonstrations have taken place in recent weeks.

Release efforts are supported by a substantial number of Somali traditional leaders, influential clan members and elders who are opposed to the kidnapping condemning this as an act that is contradictory to Somali values where honor is obliging Somali people to treat guests with respect and dignity.

Most recent support comes from a group of influential traditional clan leaders who have issued a common statement condemning the kidnapping and calling for an immediate release.

‘Knowing the importance of the clan leaders as the traditional power holders it is encouraging to receive this support. We are grateful and hopeful that this will help us getting back our colleagues who are held hostage in Somalia,’ says Ann Mary Olsen, head of the international department with the Danish Refugee Council.

32 year-old Jessica Buchanan and 60 year-old Poul Hagen Thisted were kidnapped on 25 October as they were driving through Galkayo in Central Somalia. The two employees with Danish Refugee Council’s demining unit, Danish Demining Group were on a field trip to monitor humanitarian aid activities in the region when they were abducted by a group of armed men.

The Danish Refugee Council and the demining unit, DDG, have been providing emergency aid and assistance in Somalia since 1998.

Daily meals are handed out in Mogadishu feeding more than 100,000 internally displaced people, protection and shelter is provided along with aid packages, livelihoods are improved in collaboration with Somali communities through agricultural development projects, and extensive efforts are made to improve community safety - not least through the removal of landmines and explosive remnants of war – these are among some of the many relief interventions through the years and still provided in support of the Somali people by the Danish Refugee Council and DDG.

In consideration of the safety of the two kidnapped aid workers, the Danish Refugee Council cannot give more details or elaborate further on the current situation.

All media inquiries should be directed to the Danish Refugee Council in Copenhagen.

Condemnation statement (Somali, PDF 69KB)

Anagoo ah odayaasha dhaqanka ee Beelaha Habar-Gidir, waxaan cambaareyn dusha uga tuureynaa kuwa afduubtay shaqaalihii Ha’adda DDG, ee ka shaqeynayey howlaha bani’adaminimada.

Waxaan ka codsanaynaa dadka deggan deegaanada lagu haysto shaqalihii la afduubtay in ay u istaagaan sii deynta dadkaas dhibaneyaasha ah, martidana u ahaa una adeegayey deegaanadooda.

Waxaan mar labaad ka codsanaynaa Ugaasyada,Odayaasha, Dhallinyarada, Haweenka,Culimaa u diinka, Maamullada iyo  cid kasta oo qayb ka qaadan karta in ay u howl galaan siideynta shaqaalahaas samafale yaasha ah .   

Saxiixayaasha: Abuukar  Osman Shekh     Guddomiyaha Beelaha Habar-Gidir
                            Hussein Jama Kadiye  (Conoco) Xoghayaha Guud
                            Hassan Mohamed Dirshe           Guddoomiye  Ku-xigeen



We, as traditional elders for Habargedir clan condemn the kidnappers of DDG staff working for humanitarian.

We request the community settled in the area where these staff are kept as hostages to stand up and to act on a safe release of two hostages who were the guests serving for their people.

We again request the Ugases [title for influential elders], elders, youth, women’s groups, religious groups, the local administration and whoever can make a positive contribution to stand up for the release of these humanitarian staff.

Abukar Osman Sheikh, Chairman of the [Habargedir]clan
Hussein Jama Kadiye, General Secretary
Hassan Mohamed Dirshe, Deputy Chairman

Condemnation statement (Somali, PDF 69KB)