Unidentified gunmen have stormed a Red Cross headquarters compound in the Somali capital of Mogadishu and abducted a female staffer, officials say.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said the abduction took place around 8 p.m. local time (1700 GMT) on Wednesday, adding that the female staffer was a nurse of German nationality.
The name of the nurse has not been specified in reports.
“We are deeply concerned about the safety of our colleague,” said Daniel O’Malley, the 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.
The Swiss-based agency said the assailants snatched the female staffer from inside their compound in Mogadishu as she was having dinner and took her out through a back door, avoiding security guards stationed at the main entrance.
The Red Cross said it was “in contact with various authorities to try and secure her release.”
Police has started a search.
“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.
The abduction is the latest in a series of targeted attacks on aid workers in the chaotic Horn of Africa nation.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the abduction; however, such incidents are mostly blamed on the Takfiri al-Shabab militant group, which aims to topple Somalia’s Western-backed federal government.
The al-Qaeda-linked terrorist group was forced out of the capital by African Union troops in 2011 but still controls large parts of the countryside and carries out attacks against government, military, and civilian targets in Mogadishu and regional towns.
Back in October last year, more than 500 people lost their lives in twin bomb blasts in Mogadishu.
The bomb attacks were the deadliest since al-Shabab started its militancy in 2007. The government blamed the al-Shabab for the carnage, but the terror group did not claim responsibility for that incident.
By Africafrique and agencies