Page last updated at 14:51 GMT, Monday, 10 November 2008

Italian nuns kidnapped in Kenya

Map of Kenya and Somalia

Suspected Somali gunmen have kidnapped two Italian nuns in Kenya and taken them over the border to Somalia, officials and witnesses have said.

The nuns were taken during a pre-dawn raid in the border town of El Wak, about 400 miles (645km) north-east of the capital, Nairobi, reports said.

The Kenyan Red Cross said the gunmen escaped in three hijacked vehicles.

Somalia has been without a functioning government since 1991. Islamist rebels are in control of much of the country.

It was not immediately clear who had carried out the kidnapping.

North-eastern Kenya is inhabited by ethnic Somalis, and there are frequent clashes over access to land and water in the area.

In Somalia, armed gangs have kidnapped and killed a number of aid workers, while there have also been repeated attacks on Catholic targets.

There were conflicting reports about the circumstances of the nuns' kidnapping.

A local aid worker was quoted as saying the nuns had been taken in the midst of a shoot-out at a church, while the Kenyan Red Cross said the women had been taken hostage at their home.

Kenyan police said they were collaborating with Somali elders over the incident, AFP news agency reported.

The Italian foreign ministry said it was also working to secure the release of the Catholic nuns, adding that the papal nuncio in Kenya was involved.

Print Sponsor

Islamists destroy Somali church
30 Sep 08 |  Africa
Catholic bishop killed in Kenya
15 Jul 05 |  Africa


Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2020 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific