NAIROBI, Kenya — According to the Somalia Report website, two Spanish aid workers abducted in Kenya last year have been sold to a pirate gang by Al Shabaab militants.
The two Spanish women working for Doctors Without Borders (also known as Medecins Sans Frontières, or MSF) were kidnapped by armed men in the Dadaab refugee camp in October.
Days later, Kenya invaded Somalia, saying it could no longer abide the threats to its security and tourism industry posed by the Shabaab.
The report of the sale of the hostages — if true — is interesting for a number of reasons.
First, it shows they are still alive, which will be a relief to both their families and to their Doctors Without Borders colleagues.
Second, it suggests that elements within the Shabaab may indeed have been behind the kidnappings that triggered Kenya's invasion, despite the group's repeated denials of any involvement.
Third, it reveals something about the links between the Islamists and the pirates who, while they may not work hand-in-hand, are clearly on good terms.
According to the Somalia Report, the pirates paid $100,000 for each woman, and they are now being held in the pirate town of Harardhere along with other hostages, possibly including American aid worker Jessica Buchanan, who was kidnapped from Galkayo in October while working for the Danish Demining Group.