Al-Shabab frees two Kenyans after five days in captivity

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Somali militant group, al-Shabab on Wednesday released two Kenyans whom they had kidnapped on Nov. 22 from a village in Wajir county in the northeast region.

Mohamed Birik, North-Eastern Regional Commissioner, confirmed the release of the two camel herders following successful negotiations between two clans in Somalia. The two were abducted on Nov. 22.

Birik said the herders arrived safely in Khorof Kharar, noting that the government has stepped up security in border towns to avert cross-border incursions by al-Shabab militants.

“We have deployed more security personnel on the border areas to prevent a similar incident. Patrols have been enhanced at large,’’ said the government administrator.

Residents said the herders were abducted after they resisted paying zakat (Islamic tax or offering) to the militant group that had come to Konton town in the area.

According to the residents, the militants had been roaming in the area for at least two days before kidnapping the herders and crossing with them into Somalia.

The unknown number of militants, who accused the herders of grazing animals at the Somali border, also took away six camels belonging to the herders.

According to local officials, the incident prompted elders from Degodia-Fai that reside in Wajir to visit the Marehan elders in Somalia to negotiate for the release of the two, who were abducted along the Kenyan border while grazing their animals.

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