Kenyan teacher abducted in Mogadishu

Published on Wednesday 14th May 2008

Somalia: Three gunmen abducted a Kenyan teaching staff at the Mogadishu University campus in the latest seizure of a foreigner in the lawless Horn of Africa country, witnesses said on Tuesday.


Yasin Abdi, a student at the Taleh campus in the bombed-out Somali capital, said the armed men abducted Moses Nyandusi Matundura, a public administration lecturer.

Matundura was then forced into a car waiting to take him home and the driver ordered by gunmen to speed off towards the Islamist stronghold of north Mogadishu.

"Three young men armed with pistols abducted our professor," Abdi told Reuters. "We do not know who the kidnappers were and where he is held."

University and government officials declined comment.

Kidnapping is lucrative business in Somalia, and abductors generally treat their captives well in anticipation of a large ransom.

Somali gunmen are still holding hostage two aid workers, one Kenyan and one British, abducted in April.

Foreign lecturers at the campus are no longer protected by armed guards, since the interim government disarmed the school last year as part of a plan to limit the weapons in private hands, a university staffer who declined to give his name said, Reuters report said.

"The professor was not under armed guard when he was seized. His house is just 300 steps from the main gate. The driver who was to drop him was later released by the gunmen. They told him they just want to question the professor," the staffer said.

The university offers undergraduate and masters degrees, and its 2,000 students are taught by lecturers mainly from India and Kenya. It was ranked among the top 100 universities in Africa in a 2005 survey, despite its dangerous location.

Mogadishu is one of the most dangerous cities in the world, mired in anarchy and awash in weapons since the overthrow of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991.

For more than a year, Islamist insurgents have battled allied Somali-Ethiopian forces for control of the capital.