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Somali Authorities Holding 'Some 50 Foreign Nationals'

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Comments By Jamal Gabobe

Nairobi, January 17, 2007 – Somali officials are holding up to 50 foreign nationals, the Danish Foreign Ministry said today.

Somalia ’s foreign minister, Ismael Mohamoud Hurreh, told Denmark’s ambassador to Kenya that “about 50 foreigners are detained, including several Scandinavians, and at least one of them is a Dane,” said Lars Thuesen, head of the Danish ministry’s consular department.

Danish Ambassador Bo Jensen briefly met Hurreh yesterday in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, to ask for details about reports that Danes were being held in Somalia.

“We have heard different stories about Danes being held and asked (Hurreh) directly for more information,” Thuesen said, but he gave no other details of the Nairobi meeting.

Thuesen said he had no information about why the foreigners were being held, but confirmed that Somalis living in Denmark had contacted the Foreign Ministry because they had not heard from relatives who had traveled to Somalia.

Danish media have speculated that Danes of Somali origin had traveled to Somalia to fight with Islamic militants.

Somali government forces backed by Ethiopian troops ousted Somalia’s Islamic movement from the capital, Mogadishu, and much of southern Somalia in December.

Government spokesman Abdirahman Dinari said that government troops captured fighters from Chechnya, Eritrea, Sweden and Britain who were loyal to the Islamists on Friday.

On January 4, Kenyan Foreign Affairs Minister Raphael Tuju said many of the Somalis who had sought asylum in Kenya were family members of Islamic militiamen and some even had British, Canadian, Eritrean, Danish and other passports.

He said Kenya would “not allow combatants and their families to use this country as a base.”

Source: Evening Echo,   Ireland  


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