November 30, 2008 / 8:37 PM / 11 years ago

Somalia arrests 5 for kidnapping Western journalists

BOSASSO, Somalia (Reuters) - Somali security forces have arrested five men for the kidnapping this week of two European journalists who are being held in the hills east of Bosasso, the local governor said on Sunday.

Gunmen seized the British reporter and Spanish photographer on Wednesday in the latest attack on foreigners working in the lawless Horn of Africa nation. Bosasso is the main port in semi-autonomous Puntland region.

“After investigation we have arrested five men who worked with those who kidnapped the two foreign journalists,” governor Muse Gelle Yusuf. “We have sent troops to save them.”

Somalia has been immersed in civil conflict for the last 17 years. The government is fighting a two-year-old Islamist insurgency while the chaos has also fueled piracy in Somalia’s waters, bringing foreign warships to the area.

It is one of the world’s most dangerous countries for reporters. Foreign aid workers have also been increasingly targeted, with a string of assassinations and kidnappings.

Foreign correspondents generally stay out of Somalia, leaving reporting on the ground to local journalists. But a few do still go in, usually hiring local militiamen to protect them.

Reporting by Abdiqani Hassan; Writing by Daniel Wallis; Editing by Angus MacSwan

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