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Africa

Gunmen kidnap two foreign journalists

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2009-11-16

Unidentified armed men abducted two foreign journalists at gunpoint near Somalia's capital Mogadishu on Saturday, raising fears on their whereabouts and safety in this war-ravaged Horn of Africa nation.

AFP - Two freelance journalists, an Australian man and a Canadian woman, were abducted Saturday by unidentified armed men near Mogadishu, police and a witness said.
   
"They were taken under the threat of firearms. It was an abduction," a security official at a hotel south of the capital told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity.
   
A police officer confirmed the abduction on the road between Mogadishu and Afgoye, about 25 kilometres (15 miles) to the west.
   
The two journalists were to visit several refugees camp at Afgoye, the sources added.
   
"It's (clear) that they were kidnapped because their schedule was to come back to the hotel before 12 in the afternoon and we don't have their whereabouts," said Abdifatah Ajos Sanura, a director at the Shamo hotel where the pair stayed.
   
Journalists and humanitarian workers are frequently abducted in Somalia, a country torn apart by civil war since 1991. Most kidnappings include ransom demands.
   
The sister of the interpreter accompanying the two reporters also expressed anxiety about their whereabouts.
   
"They left this morning and all their phone numbers are switched off. We are not sure, but it seems that they were kidnapped," Sadia Mohamed said.
   
The abduction comes amid ongoing unrest in Somalia, where Ethiopian troops ousted the Islamist militia which had controlled large parts of the Horn of Africa country in 2006.
   
The Islamists have since reverted to guerrilla warfare and have been targeting Somali government forces, Ethiopian troops and African Union peacekeepers almost daily.
   
The clashes have displaced hundreds of thousands of people and killed more than 6,000 people last year alone.
   
Islamists regained control of the southern Kismayo port Friday, following three days of battles with militia groups that left more than 40 people dead.
  

Date created : 2008-08-23

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