Gunmen kidnap German nurse working for Red Cross in Somali capital

Unidentified gunmen kidnapped a German nurse from the International Committee of the Red Cross in the Somali capital Mogadishu on Wednesday night, police and ICRC said.

While abductions and killings of Somali aid workers are common in the Horn of Africa country, the targeting of foreign workers has become far less frequent in recent years as security has improved.

“We got the report minutes after she was abducted and now we are searching the whole area. We hope we shall find her,” Major Mohamed Hussein, a police officer, told Reuters.

“We are deeply concerned about the safety of our colleague,” said Daniel O’Malley, ICRC’s deputy head of delegation for Somalia.

“She is a nurse who was working every day to save lives and improve the health of some of Somalia’s most vulnerable people,” he said.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the abduction.

The organisation’s staff had earlier told Reuters that the kidnappers snatched their colleague from inside their compound in Mogadishu and took her out through a back door, avoiding security guards stationed at the main entrance.

Somalia has suffered lawlessness since 1991, when warlords ousted dictator Siad Barre and then turned on each other.

Major armed conflict has abated in recent years, allowing elections for president and parliament. However, al-Qaeda affiliate al-Shabaab militants still regularly launch attacks in Mogadishu and elsewhere.

On Tuesday, unidentified gunmen shot dead a Somali World Health Organisation employee in Mogadishu.