heavily armed militiamen stormed into an aid agency compound
in the Somali capital Mogadishu Wednesday and abducted a French
woman and a British man, French aid agency Action contre la
said the young gunmen disarmed security guards at the ACF
compound before storming in with a ``technical'' -- a pick-up
truck mounted with a heavy machinegun -- and snatching the
two ACF workers.
it was negotiating the release of its two employees but declined
to give further details. ``Negotiations are in process,''
said Yann Libessart, an ACF program officer in the Kenyan
all I can say, our communications are difficult with Mogadishu
and we don't want to jeopardize the process.''
at the British High Commission in the Kenyan capital Nairobi
said he had been told the hostages were unharmed. Somalia
has been without a central government since 1991 and is carved
up into fiefdoms ruled by feuding militia factions.
embassies have been closed since then. The capital is split
in two, the south controlled by warlord Hussein Aideed and
his allies and the north by his rival Ali Mahdi Mohamed.
of the abductors has not been confirmed but residents said
one of them had been fired from his post as an ACF security
guard a few days earlier.
is one of the most dangerous places in the world for aid agencies
and lawlessness have forced many of the major agencies to
withdraw their expatriate staff altogether. In April 1998,
10 Red Cross staff were abducted in Mogadishu but released
unharmed after nine days.
doctor was shot dead in an ambush in central Somalia last