A British national and a Kenyan contractor working in Southern Somalia were kidnapped on Tuesday by gunmen in the volatile region, known for kidnapping foreigners in exchange for ransom demands, the UN said.
The two foreigners were working for an Indian firm hired by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) to carry out a survey along the Juba and the Shabelle rivers, when gunmen kidnapped them after an apparent exchange of fire, the UN said.
“The two foreigners were abducted this morning by unknown gunmen between Saakow and Bu’aale in Middle Juba,” the UN office for Somalia said in a statement.
Somalia has been known for its spate of kidnappings, mainly targeting foreign staff who are commonly kidnapped and held for several months while ransom demands a remade.
The two foreigners, reportedly abducted after an exchange of fire, were slightly wounded.
“Witnesses on the ground say there was gunfire when the men were taken but there is no information to suggest that any serious injury was sustained by either men ,” the UN statement said.
Reports from Mogadishu indicated that Somali clan elders, backed by clan-based militiamen had launched a pursuit for the suspected gunmen.
The two foreigners, working with Genesys International of India, are believed to have been taken further southwards towards Jibil, about 280 km south of Mogadishu.
The two foreign abductees have not been named. Panapress.