Somali gunmen abduct foreign worker

February 22, 2009 12:00 am

, MOGADISHU, Feb 22 – Gunmen in Somalia’s northern breakaway Puntland region on Sunday abducted a foreign employee of a mining company, the region’s governor Muse Gelle Farole told AFP.

"We got information indicating that a Pakistani national working for a mineral company in Puntland was kidnapped by gunmen on his way to work this morning and we don’t have more details so far," said Farole.

A security officer who asked to remain anonymous, said: "I got information that a Pakistani holding British nationality was kidnapped in (the) Lag area by gunmen who took him to the mountainous area."

The few foreign nationals working in Somalia, which has been wracked by civil war since 1991, are regularly targetted for kidnappings by gunmen seeking ransoms.

On Thursday, two Italian nuns in their 60s were released after having been held since November, when they were kidnapped in Kenya, then taken over the border into Somalia.

There is still no word of a Canadian journalist and an Australian photographer abducted last August, though a Somali journalist and two drivers taken with them were released in January.

A tribal chief negotiating their release said in September the kidnap gang wanted a ransom of 2.5 million dollars.

Two journalists from Britain and Spain were released in January after almost six weeks in captivity.

Also in January, a Japanese doctor and a Dutch nurse working for French medical charity Medecins du Monde (MDM) were freed after more than three months as hostages in Somalia.


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