Pinoy aid worker rescued in Somalia: DFA

ABS-CBN News with Reuters

Posted at Jul 02 2012 02:54 PM | Updated as of Jul 03 2012 07:46 AM

MOGADISHU (UPDATE) - Somali government troops have rescued four foreign aid workers, including a Filipino, held hostage inside Somalia, three days after they were seized from a refugee camp in neighbouring Kenya, a Somali military commander said on Monday.

In Manila, Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) spokesperson Raul Hernandez confirmed that Filipino Glenn Costes has been rescued.  He said Costes and his 3 colleagues were safe and were on their way back to Nairobi.  

"Philippine Ambassador to Nairobi Domingo Lucenario will meet with Mr. Costes upon his arrival in Nairobi and is prepared to extend assistance to him," Hernandez said.  

Costes will be undergoing a medical check-up and debriefing.

Reuters quoted Colonel Abduallahi Moalim as saying government soldiers in the Lower Juber region that borders Kenya stopped a vehicle carrying supplies for the attackers on Sunday.

The army seized three of the occupants who directed the force to the hostages, he said. They were being held near the border between the towns of Diff and Dhobley.

"Our forces have rescued the four aid workers kidnapped from Kenya in an overnight rescue operation," Moalim told Reuters.

"They are healthy and unhurt," he said.

Friday's attack at the Dadaab refugee camp was the first abduction of foreigners from Kenya since the east African country sent troops into Somalia in October to crush an al Qaeda-linked insurgency. A Kenyan driver was shot dead during the kidnapping.

The four are staff of the Norweigan Refugee Council (NRC) and come from Canada, Norway, Pakistan and the Philippines.

The NRC declined to comment but said it would be releasing a statement shortly.

Kenya deployed its troops in the Horn of Africa country days after two Spanish women working for Medecins Sans Frontieres were kidnapped at Dadaab last October. They are still being held.

Dadaab, about 100 km (62 miles) from Somalia, was set up in 1991 to house Somalis fleeing violence in their country. It has since become the world's biggest refugee camp with almost 500,000 residents. - With Reuters