UN Appeals For Release Of Hostages In Somalia
Top UN Envoy Appeals For Release Of Hostages In Somalia
New York, Dec 5 2008 10:10AM
The top United Nations envoy to Somalia today called for hostages, including two Catholic nuns, being held in the war-ravaged Horn of Africa nation to be freed immediately.
“On the eve of Eid al-Adha, a period of forgiveness, I appeal to all Somalis to help ensure that those hostages being held, both Somalis and foreigners, are allowed to enjoy their freedom and to return home safe and sound,” said Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative.
He noted that releasing hostages would help to boost Somalia’s image and “show that its people deserve respect and confidence.”
Many of those being held captive came to help the Somali people or explain their plight to the rest of the world, Mr. Ould-Abdallah said, adding that their disappearance has caused their families and friends great distress and has harmed the country’s reputation.
The two nuns being held were abducted last from a town on the border between Kenya and Somalia. “They should be allowed to return home immediately and I do not see any excuse for holding them any longer,” he said.
Somalia has been beset by fighting and massive humanitarian suffering for the past two decades but the violence has flared anew this year, particularly in and around the capital, Mogadishu, and caused widespread displacement.
The Representative led talks that resulted in June’s Djibouti Agreement, under which the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and the opposition Alliance for the Re-liberation of Somalia (ARS) agreed to end their conflict and called on the UN to deploy an international stabilization force to the troubled nation, which has not had a functioning national government since 1991.