Somali Government Working to Free French Hostages
15 July 2009
Somali official says the government is working to free two French security advisors kidnapped in Mogadishu on Tuesday.
|Men walk by Mogadishu's hotel Sahafi where two foreigners were kidnapped, 14 Jul 2009 |
Minister Sheikh Abdulkadir Ali Omar tells VOA Somali service that he
believes "bandits" kidnapped the two men for ransom.
However, he said other groups may be involved.
one has claimed responsibility for the kidnapping. Reliable sources in
Mogadishu tell VOA that Somalia's two main Islamist insurgent groups,
al-Shabab and Hizbul Islam, are both claiming rights over the hostages.
The groups are said to be in a tense stand-off over who will hold the two men.
The French foreign ministry says the men had come to Somalia to advise the transitional government on security matters.
Neither French nor Somali officials have released the men's names.
Somali interior minister says the French nationals arrived in Mogadishu
on July 9 and were placed the Hotel Sahafi, which the government
believed was safe.
A group of about 12 gunmen seized the two men from the hotel on Tuesday.
The men allegedly registered at the hotel as reporters, a fact that has angered journalists' groups.
Reporters Without Borders says the men's behavior endangers journalists
in a region where reporting is already very dangerous.
Somalia is chaotic after 18 years of internal strife, and foreigners are frequent kidnap targets.