Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 22 July 2014

Abducted Briton 'in good spirits'

An aid worker kidnapped in Somalia is 'in good spirits', Save The Children said. (AP)

A Briton abducted by masked gunmen in Somalia is "well" and "in good spirits", Save the Children has said.

The aid worker was taken from a guesthouse compound in Adado, a small town close to the border with Ethiopia, on Thursday night.

Anna Ford, Save the Children's spokeswoman in Nairobi, said: "We can confirm that he is well. He is being looked after and is in good spirits. We are still extremely concerned about him and call upon whoever is holding him to release him."

A Somali national who was also taken from the compound was released unharmed hours later.

The two men were working with Save the Children while the agency carried out a feasibility assessment into setting up a programme to help sick and malnourished children and their families in the area.

Tensions are running high in the lawless region, where armed forces include pirate gangs and factions of militias allied to the government.

Kidnapping for ransom is not uncommon in the area, though hostages are usually released unharmed.

The stricken Horn of Africa nation has been beset by famine and years of fighting between rival warlords leading to thousands of deaths.

It has had no functioning central government for nearly 20 years. But the western part of the country had been considered one of its safer areas.

Though most aid agencies have pulled out of the region, some had recently considered a return.