NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Somalia’s government says eight “very young” aid workers have been abducted and killed by an armed group outside the capital, Mogadishu.
A statement Friday by the minister of humanitarian affairs, Hamza Said Hamza, condemned the “brutal execution” in Balcad District, adding that attacks against humanitarians jeopardize access to badly needed aid especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The armed group was not identified. Somalia remains under threat from the al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab extremist group, which has been hostile to aid workers.
The attack occurred at a health facility run by a local NGO, the Zamzam Foundation. The foundation in a statement said the workers were abducted by gunmen on Wednesday afternoon and their bodies were found Thursday.
“We ask Allah to elevate their status to the highest levels of heaven,” the statement said.
The leader of Hirshabelle state north of Mogadishu, Mohamed Abdi Ware, himself a former aid worker, described the killings as “the most painful” and told reporters he had appointed a task force to investigate.
The World Health Organization’s office in Somalia condemned the “barbaric and heinous” attack.
Somalia remains one of the most dangerous places in the world for aid workers.