NAIROBI (Reuters) - Two Kenyans kidnapped by Somali Islamists in 2011 have been found alive in Somalia, officials said.
Kenyan officials said the two men were rescued by Kenyan troops who are part of the African Union peacekeeping force in Somalia but al Shabaab rebels said the duo were freed in February after converting to Islam.
“They are not quite with it. They’re incoherent and dazed,” said Willy Wesonga, the Kenyan Defence Force (KDF) spokesman.
Emmanuel Chirchir, another spokesman for the Kenyan military, said one of the two kidnapped men was James Kiarie Gichui, a driver for CARE International, a charity.
Chirchir said Gichui was kidnapped in November 2011 in Kenya’s Dadaab camp, one of the world’s largest refugee camps.
The second man, Daniel Njuguna, was a driver’s helper for a transport company that delivered supplies in and out of Somalia for medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), according to Kenyan officials and the charity.
Kenya sent its troops into Somalia in 2001 after a French tourist was kidnapped in Lamu, a popular Indian Ocean island near the Somalia border. Attacks by al Shabaab have continued, including a September raid on a Nairobi shopping mall in which 67 people were killed.
Reporting by Drazen Jorgic; Editing by Angus MacSwan