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Somali gunmen kidnap three foreign aid workers

Somali gunmen have kidnapped three foreign aid workers in the Kenyan town of Mandera, close to the Somali border. The militant al Shabaab group, accused of capturing two French security officials in Mogadishu on Tuesday, denied responsibility.

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Three foreign aid workers were kidnapped overnight in a Kenyan town close to the Somali border by armed men, who took them into Somalia, a Somali government official told AFP Saturday.

The three were snatched from their office in Mandera, in northeast Kenya.

"We have been told the Somali militia kidnapped three aid workers from inside Kenya and entered Somalia and we are investigating the incident by tracing the kidnappers," Sheikh Adan Mohamed, a senior official in the neighbouring Somali town of Bulohawo told AFP by telephone.

The nationalities of the three and the organisation for which they worked were not immediately known.

"We haven't seen them yet, but they have crossed the border," an elder in Bulohawo, Adan Wardhere told AFP, saying the kidnappers had seriously injured a security guard during the abduction.

Foreigners are regularly kidnapped in Somalia, which has been mired in civil war since 1991, and usually freed in return for a ransom. Journalists and aid workers are particularly targetted.

Two French security agents were kidnapped on Tuesday from their hotel in Mogadishu.

 

The militant al Shabaab group, which denied involvement in the attack, vowed to track down the kidnappers who took the aid workers.

Canadian journalist Amanda Lindhout and Australian photographer Nigel Geoffrey Brennan, who were snatched on August 23 last year, are still being held by their abductors.

Four European employees of the French non-governmental organisation Action Faim and their two Kenyan pilots, kidnapped in early November, are also still being held.

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