July 16, 2009

Abducted French Agents Turned Over to Insurgent Groups

NAIROBI - Two French government agents abducted Tuesday from a hotel in Mogadishu have been turned over to militant insurgent groups, according to Somali government officials and other senior officials working in the country. The two groups, Hizbullah Islam and al-Shabaab, are reportedly fighting over who will take control of the hostages. Al-Shabaab, Somalia's most powerful insurgent group, is promising to kill the men.

The men were in Mogadishu to train the elite presidential guard and were kidnapped by gunmen believed to be tied to a prominent minister within the fragile Transitional Federal Government, known as the TFG, according to officials who declined to be named because they are not authorized to speak with
the media.

The original purpose of the kidnapping was supposed to be financial not political, Somalia's Defense Minister Mohamed Abdi Gandi told Radio France Internationale.

"We don't know their names, but we know their affiliation and their group," he said. "These are people who are armed and who carry out kidnappings to demand ransoms, but these are not political kidnappings."


Author: verified_user