Somalia: Al-Shabaab Frees Two Kenyan Herders After Negotiations

Two herders from Wajir County, who were kidnapped Al-Shabaab militants a week ago, have been released after five days of negotiation between two clans in Somalia.

Wajir County commissioner Loyford Kibaara confirmed their release saying the herders arrived safely in Khorof Kharar on Wednesday.

The herders were abducted on Thursday after they resisted to pay zakat (a form of Islamic offering) to the militant group.

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

The abduction 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.

They managed to secure the release of the victims but were not allowed to take back their camels.

Mr Kibaara said the government had stepped up security in border towns including Konton, Riba, Khorof Kharar and Qarsa. "We have deployed security personnel on the border areas to prevent a similar incident," he said.

He called on the residents to be on the lookout and always share information with security agencies so as to fight terrorism in the county that has for many years be a target of Shabaab militants.

Thei release of the herders, comes a week after an armed gang kidnapped an Italian, Ms Silvia Romano Constanca, a volunteer with a charity, in Chakama, 60km from the coastal town of Malindi, an area popular with Italian tourists and expatriates.

The whereabouts of the 23-year-old remains unknown.

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