Gunmen kidnap four aid workers in Somalia

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The Independent Online

Somali gunmen kidnapped four humanitarian workers, one thought to be foreign, in southern Somalia today, a humanitarian source said, in the latest attack on aid workers.

"The aid workers were in transit in Wajid, where they spent the night on the way from Puntland. They were taken early on Monday morning," a UN worker, who declined to be named, told Reuters. He said some worked for the UN World Food Programme.

UN officials in Nairobi could not confirm the kidnapping.

Somalia is one of the most dangerous countries in the world for aid workers, who have been the targets of assassinations and kidnappings during a two-year insurgency led by Islamist insurgents against the government and foreign backers.

With kidnaps in Somalia, captives are usually well-treated and set free once a ransom is paid.

President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed, a moderate Islamist elected earlier this year in the 15th attempt to form a central government, is struggling to deal with various insurgent groups who control swathes of the Horn of Africa country.