Kidnapped consultants released in Somalia

May 16 (Nairobi, Kenya) - Two CARE consultants were released yesterday evening by kidnappers who took them hostage last week. The men are unharmed and eager to return to their families.

"Of course we are relieved that this situation has been resolved with no one being harmed," said David Gilmour, who directs CARE's projects in Somalia. "CARE will resume program operations in Puntland state as soon as we receive assurances that the Bari region is once again stable and peaceful. We appreciate the efforts of village leaders, the Government of Puntland and the role played by civil society organizations in ensuring that this situation had a positive outcome. We will continue our dialogue with the village leaders and the Puntland authorities to limit disruption to the critical projects that are helping this region of Somalia recover from disaster."

The men who were taken hostage were part of a crew hired to assess the feasibility of constructing two jetties in the towns of Hafun and Garaad. They asked that media respect their privacy while they reunite with families and friends.

CARE opened operations in Somalia since 1981 when it began to support refugees. Programming since then has included large-scale emergency relief and refugee assistance, water facility construction, primary health care, small scale enterprise development, local institution building, primary school education, and agriculture. In Puntland, CARE supports about 5,400 households in 41 communities that have been affected by the Indian Ocean Tsunami. The aim of the project is to restore and strengthen the livelihoods of fishing communities along the coast.

For more information contact:

Kimberlee Phillip
Media Coordinator
CARE Australia
(02) 6279 0250
0419 567 777