NAIROBI, KENYA and BROOMFIELD, USA, February 22, 2015 — JAMES Gachamba Kuria returned home to his family in Nairobi today after being kidnapped in Somalia in November 2014 and held for ransom by Somali Pirates.
James Kuria and his partner Lois Njoki Weru were part of a programme delivering homeopathic medicines in Somalia and were taken hostage on 24 Nov 14. The two were held hostage in the Somali Village of Camaara in central Somalia by a criminal gang including pirates with experience of negotiating for hostages.
During their captivity James and Lois have suffered various illnesses and the Hostage Support Partnership with its unique connections has managed to deliver medicines to them in captivity. This rare capability by the HSP is unique in hostage situations and has been used to support other hostages still being held in Somalia. While some partners of the HSP have focused on providing vital humanitarian support, other partners of the HSP have been in open dialogue with the hostage takers throughout the period of captivity trying to negotiate for their release.
Early this week forces from Galmudug State (Somalia), as part of an effort to rid the region of pirates and hostage takers, raided the village where the two Kenyan hostages were held and managed to free James Kuria and hand him over to the Kenyan Embassy in Mogadishu from where UNODC repatriated him. However his partner Lois Weru was not freed and remains in captivity and we appeal to those holding her, to release her forthwith.
The Hostage Support Partnership is monitoring and assisting 26 hostages taken from the Fishing Vessel Naham 3, 17 from the FV Siraj and 4 other Kenyans (Including Lois Weru).
About The Hostage Support Partnership
The HSP was originally created by the former UN SRSG for Somalia Dr Augustin Mahiga (now Foreign Minister of Tanzania) and his team at UNPOS to look after Hostages in Somalia captured primarily by pirates and taken ashore. These Hostages without insurance or a ship of any value became “Somalia’s Forgotten Hostages”. The programme has a number of partners who contribute specialist knowledge and capabilities in support of the programme – these are UNODC (Global Maritime Crime Programme), Holman Fenwick and Willan (HFW), Compass Risk and Ocean’s Beyond Piracy (who coordinate the programme now).