October 11, 2008

Abducted Japanese Doctor Says She, Other Aid Worker Held in Somalia

Text of report in English by Japan's largest news agency Kyodo

Nairobi, Oct. 10 Kyodo - A Japanese female doctor abducted in Ethiopia in September told a Somali journalist over the phone on Friday that she and another aid worker are safe in the Somali capital Mogadishu.

The woman, who identified herself as Keiko Akahane, said the abductors want the release of prisoners held in Ethiopia, not ransom, in exchange for freeing the two aid workers, according to the Somali journalist who is acquainted with a Kyodo News reporter.

The Japanese doctor said that she and the other aid worker of the French medical aid group Doctors of the World are being given food and water by the abductors.

The two were in a village in central Somalia, but the abductors transferred them to Mogadishu on Thursday afternoon because militiamen in the village attempted to rescue them, she said.

The two were abducted Sept. 22 in the Ogaden region in eastern Ethiopia, which is about 80 kilometres from the Somali border, and were believed to have been transferred to Ethiopia by the evening on that day.

Originally published by Kyodo News Service, Tokyo, in English 1559 10 Oct 08.

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