Somali authorities in the southern parts of the country are carrying out a search for the five World Health Organization workers abducted by suspected al-Shabaab terrorists, VOA reports.
All the five workers were abducted from their homes by gunmen on Sunday. They are reported to have been forcefully driven to a remote area.
“At 4 a.m. local time, Maganey village, close to Luuq, was attacked by gunmen from al-Shabab, and [they] kidnapped the five men who were contractors for WHO. We are now pursuing them to free the abducted men,” Khaliif told VOA Somali Service.
The workers, who are of Somali decent, were carrying out a polio vaccination program on behalf of W.H.O. However, the United Nation’s Agency has not released any information regarding the abduction.
The aid workers had received death threats before the abduction, threats indicating that al-Shabab objects to their work. The terrorists are reported to have spread false rumors that the vaccines contain the AIDS virus or cause sterility.
According to BBC, the Somali nationals were abducted in the town of Luuq in the southwestern Gedo province
A 2015 WHO report said that 420,000 children living in parts of Somalia not under government control had not been vaccinated.