NAIROBI: Kenya’s defence ministry said Friday its troops had freed two Kenyans kidnapped near its northern border by Somalia’s Al-Qaeda-linked Shebab rebels in 2011.
Officials identified the two as James Kiarie Gichuhi, a driver with CARE International, and Daniel Njuguna Wanyoike, initially identified as a worker with Doctors Without Borders (MSF) but later said to be working with a logistics firm that may have been delivering medicines to the charity.
A defence ministry spokesman, Colonel Willy Wesonga, said that the two were “incoherent” and “traumatised” by their ordeal and that authorities were still trying to firmly establish their identities.
A defence ministry statement said they were rescued by Kenyan troops within AMISOM, the African Union force battling the Shebab in support of Somalia’s internationally-backed government.
No further details on the operation were given, but Kenyan troops are active in southern Somalia. Colonel Wesonga confirmed they were rescued inside Somali territory, where AMISOM troops have been advancing on Shebab positions in recent weeks.
A CARE official confirmed Gichuhi was a driver and Kenyan national working with a water and sanitation team in the Hagadera camp near Dadaab in northern Kenya, which is currently home to 105,000 Somali refugees.
CARE said he was kidnapped in September 2011, and that it was awaiting confirmation from the Kenyan authorities of his release. MSF confirmed the second freed hostage was not a staff member.