NAIROBI, Kenya — Gunmen stormed a boat moored off northern Somalia and kidnapped five aid workers from the United Nations and European Union, officials said Saturday. U.N. officials were negotiating with Somali clan elders for their release.
Those taken hostage Friday included Briton Dennis Cassidy, according to his employer, the European Union. With him were two employees of the U.N. Children's Fund, another from U.N. Habitat and one from the U.N. Office for Project Services, a U.N. source said.
The British Foreign Office said two Kenyans, one Indian and one Canadian were being held in addition to Cassidy. Their names were not released.
The five were taken at gunpoint from a boat moored off the northeast corner of the self-declared independent Republic of Somaliland, the source said. The region declared its independence from the rest of Somalia in 1991.
An EU source said the kidnappings were connected to a dispute over coal exports. Aid workers have often been targets for dissatisfied Somalis since a 1991 coup left the country without a central government.