Six UN Expatriates Abducted in Somalia
A team of six expatriate United Nations workers were abducted Tuesday during a visit to Somalia's capital, Mogadishu, where fighting escalated in the afternoon, a UN source in Nairobi told AFP.
Earlier reports put the number of UN abductees first at two, then four.
The UN source, who asked not to be named, said during a hurried telephone interview that "six international UN workers" were being held and that fighting had escalated from around 4:00 pm.
UN expatriates normally spend only a few days in Mogadishu. Six such officials arrived in the city on Monday for a three-day trip to assess polio and cholera projects.
Two of these six were earlier reported to have sought refuge in a house during a Tuesday morning attack by factional fighters on a north Mogadishu compound used by the medical aid agency Medecins Sans Frontieres.
Asked whether these two were now considered hostages, the UN source said: "We don't know whether they are free to go." According to an AFP journalist at the scene, the house was surrounded by the same fighters who attacked the MSF compound.
Several MSF staff, two from Spain and one from France and several Somali nationals, were thought to be with these two in the house.
In Nairobi MSF spokeswoman Samantha Bolton said of those in this house that "from the latest contact we had with them, they told us they were safe and free to go as soon as security would allow it." -- NAIROBI (AFP)
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