Police: Gunmen kidnap American in Somalia
MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) - Gunmen kidnapped an American man in the northern
Somali town of Galkayo on Saturday, officials said.
The gunmen surrounded the man's car shortly after the man left the airport,
said policeman Abdi Hassan Nur, who witnessed the incident. He said they
then forced the American into another vehicle.
Galkayo is on the border between the semiautonomous northern region of
Puntland and a region known as Galmudug. It is ruled by forces friendly to
the U.N.-backed Somali government.
A minister from the Galmudug administration said the kidnapped man is an
American engineer who came to Somalia to carry out an evaluation for
building a deep water port in the town of Hobyo. The gunmen severely beat
the foreigner's Somali companion when he begged them not to take the man,
said the minister.
The minister spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized
to speak to the press.
A staff member at the Embassy Hotel, where the man was staying, said the
American had gone to the airport to drop off an Indian colleague. The hotel
said that the man had both American and German citizenship. The staff member
asked not to be identified because he was not supposed to give out
information about guests.
In October, gunmen kidnapped an American woman and a Danish man working for
the Danish Demining Group from the same town. They are still being held.
Kidnapping for ransom has become increasingly common in Somalia over the
past five years. Currently, at least four aid workers, a French military
official, a British tourist taken from Kenya and hundreds of sailors, are
being held captive.
An airstrike killed six people near the insurgent stronghold of Kismayo on
Saturday, according to Sheik Mohamud Abdi, a senior commander of the
al-Shabab militant group. In another airstrike outside Mogadishu, a
British-Lebanese commander of al-Shabab was killed along with two others
when a missile struck the car they were traveling in, al-Shabab spokesman
Sheik Ali Rage said.
Rage identified the British-Lebanese commander as Bilal-Berjawi, saying he
was a close associate of late al-Qaida operative
Abdullah Mohammed, the mastermind behind the 1998 bombings of the
> U.S. embassies in Kenya and
Tanzania who was killed by a Somali soldier in June 2011.
Kenya sent troops into Somalia in October amid concerns that Somalia's
21-year-old civil war was spilling over the countries' joint border.
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Received on Sat Jan 21 2012 - 17:31:19 EST