Kidnappers snatch British aid worker in Somalia

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The Independent Online

A British aid worker and a Somalian colleague were kidnapped by masked gunmen in a raid feared to have been carried out by Islamic militants in Somalia.

Save the Children revealed that the two workers had been taken from a guest house compound in Adado, a town in a region of Somalia believed to be comparatively safe.

The Somalian man was later released, his family said, but the Briton's whereabouts remained uncertain.

A pro-government Sunni militia said a smaller insurgent group, Hizbul Islam, was responsible and that it was possible they were allied with a pirate group. One possibility was that the kidnapped man was being taken to the coastal pirate base of Haradheere. Several forces have gunmen in the area, including pirate gangs and militias.

The kidnapping was revealed by Save the Children, which said it took place on Thursday night. The Foreign Office was investigating the report. Kidnappings in Somalia are usually as a commercial exercise and most victims are released unharmed.

The charity said in a statement: "Save the Children was assessing the feasibility of starting a humanitarian programme to help malnourished and sick children and their families in the area. We are extremely concerned about the welfare of those held."

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