20 July 2005

Kenya: Hostages' Fate Still Hangs in the Balance

Nairobi — The fate of eight Kenyan hostages in Somalia still hangs in the balance as fresh efforts were made to secure their release.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs Chirau Ali Mwakwere yesterday said they had involved the Somalia Government, mobilised villagers and the Kenyan representative in Somali to ask the militia to set the captives free.

"We are doing all we can to secure the hostages release, but at the moment the situation has not changed," Mwakwere said.

He said requests by World Food Program (WFP) to the group to release the captives had fallen on deaf ears.

WFP, he said, has suspended the supply of food consignments to those areas till the situation is resolved.

The pirates, he said, wanted food because last December's tsunami had destroyed most of their crops.

The captured ship was transporting relief food to Somalia villages affected by the tsunami.

Mwakwere was speaking at a press conference after a three-day visit to the Russian Federation.

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