Aid worker kidnapped in Somalia
Published 15/10/2010 | 09:49
Masked gunmen have abducted a Briton and a Somali working for Save the Children from a compound in western Somalia, the aid agency and a witness said.
Local resident Moalim Bashir said he did not know who took the two men from the town of Adado, near the border with Ethiopia, on Thursday evening.
He said tensions in the town were high as a militia was massing to the south and might try to take the town from those currently in control.
Several forces have gunmen in the area, including pirate gangs and factions of militias allied to the government.
The area was considered to be a safer part of Somalia and some aid agencies, which have mostly pulled out of the chaotic country, were considering returning.
"At this point, Save the Children have no further information as to the whereabouts or well-being of their staff," the organisation said in a statement.
A spokesman for the British Foreign Office said officials were "urgently investigating" reports of the kidnapping.
But sources suggested the witness could have been mistaken as to the nationality of the aid worker.
Kidnapping for ransom is common in Somalia. The hostages are rarely hurt and people are usually freed after a ransom is paid.
The lawless Horn of Africa nation has not had a functioning government for nearly 20 years.