UGANDA

Somali defence minister detained during Kampala visit

Somali Defence Minister Youssuf Mohamed Siad (pictured) was detained by Ugandan security agents during a visit to Kampala. Ugandan officials said the minister was not kidnapped and is safe, a claim confirmed by Mogadishu.

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AFP - Somalia's defence minister was detained by Ugandan security agents on Tuesday during a visit to Kampala and has not been kidnapped, Uganda's military intelligence chief said.

Somali Defence Minister Youssuf Mohamed Siad was "picked as a security measure by Uganda state security," the chief of Uganda's military intelligence service, James Mugira, told AFP.

"We quickly realised he was a minister," said General Mugira. "It was not a kidnapping."

Mugira declined to comment further except to say Siad is safe.

A member of the Somali government who had traveled to Kampala confirmed, on condition of anonymity, that Siad is "safe and sound in the hands of the Ugandan government."

A powerful Mogadishu warlord and former member of Islamic Tribunals which ruled the country in 2006, Siad is now a key member of Somalia's internationally-backed transition government that is battling Islamic insurgents.

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