Somalia: Somalia Al-Shabab Islamist militants kidnap aid workers

Somali Officials Vow to Retake Puntland Town
FILE - Soldiers from Somalia's Puntland keep guard on high grounds at the Galgala hills, during preparations for an offense against al-Shabaab militants, north of the capital Mogadishu, Jan. 9, 2015.

Four aid workers in Somalia have been abducted by members of the militant insurgency group Al Shabaab in Central Somalia.

According to local reports, four Somali nationals working with the World Health Organization (WHO) were kidnapped while on assignment in Luuq, a town in southwestern Gedo province.

Local sources say that negotiations to free the aid workers is underway

Al Shabaab militants have used aid as a  propaganda tool in regions they exert influence. The group has kidnapped and held aid workers for ransom in the past, forcing aid organizations to move locations or cease operations in the country all together.