Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Two Foreign Aid Workers Seized in Northern Somalia

Two women working for the international aid group Doctors Without Borders (Medecins sans Frontieres) have been kidnapped in Somalia's semi-autonomous northern region of Puntland.
Officials in the region say the women were seized in the port town of Bossasso Wednesday, by a gang armed with machine guns. The two women have been identified as Spanish and Argentine nationals.

Police gave chase and engaged in a gunfight with the kidnappers, and two were captured.
Puntland is relatively peaceful compared to the rest of Somalia, which has been wracked by violence since warlords overthrew dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991. But the region has become a staging ground for kidnappings, piracy and human trafficking.

The abductions come two days after Gwen Le Gouil, a French journalist, was released more than a week after he was kidnapped in Puntland. Officials said they secured his release without paying his captors any ransom.

In other developments, suspected insurgents killed three people late Monday in an attack on the home of a regional police chief in Baidoa, about 250 kilometers northwest of Mogadishu.
Police said bodyguards and members of chief's family were among the dead and wounded.

Source: VOA

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