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Two French journalists abducted in Mogadishu
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20:24, July 14, 2009

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Unknown heavily armed gunmen on Tuesday kidnapped two French journalists after raiding their hotel in the south of the Somali capital Mogadishu, hotel officials said.

"The armed men were on vehicle and forcibly entered the hotel and took the two Frenchmen out to an unknown place," a senior staff at Sahafi Hotel, in the south of Mogadishu told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

The source said the armed men first disarmed the hotel securityguards before they abducted the French journalists from their hotel rooms. It remains unclear which media house they worked for or how long they have been in the restive Somali capital.

The source added that some of the kidnappers were dressed in the uniform of the Somali government security forces but added it was not clear whether the men were really government soldiers.

Two other foreign journalists, a Canadian and an Australian, are currently being held hostages in Somalia for several months. The kidnappers demanded nearly two million U.S. dollars for their release and at one time threatened to kill them.

No word has been heard of the two journalists' situation or whereabouts for the past few months.

Freelance groups seem to be behind the kidnapping of foreigners in Somalia as ransom money is the main demand of the hostage takers who usually treat their hostages well in expectation of theransom payout that often culminates in the hostage-taking.

Somalia has been without a central government since the overthrow of the late ruler Mohamed Siyad Barre in 1991.


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