Freed Briton flies out of Somalia

21st October 2010, Comments 0 comments

A Briton held hostage for close to a week in Somalia flew out of the country and was headed for Kenya Thursday, a day after being released by his captors, security sources said.

Frans Barnard, employed by the British charity Save the Children, was captured on October 14 along with his Somali fixer in Adado, a small town in central Somalia, when heavily-armed men stormed their guest house.

He was released on Wednesday following mediation by local clan elders, one of whom told AFP that a ransom of 100,000 dollars was paid. Save the Children said it was not aware of any ransom

"He is off now, a small plane from Wajir (in northeastern Kenya) took him from Adado airstrip," Abdullahi Mohamed, a local security official said.

"He looked very happy when he saw himself sitting on the aircraft that was taking him to Kenya and the local administration officials saw him off," Ahmed Moalim told AFP by phone.

Abdullahi Mohamed said members of the gang responsible for Barnard's kidnapping were arrested in Adado, a town where the self-proclaimed local administration of Himan and Heeb is headquartered.

"They did something very shameful and they are now paying the price for their misdeeds. Several of them, including the ring leaders, are in jail in Adado," he said.

The Zimbabwean-born Barnard was in Adado as his NGO had been assessing the possibility of establishing a relief programme for malnourished children and their families in the area.

The same sub-clan that kidnapped him still holds a British couple, Paul and Rachel Chandler, whose yacht was hijacked in the Indian Ocean a year ago.

© 2010 AFP

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