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British Aid Worker Abducted in Somalia

Masked gunmen have abducted a Briton and a Somali working for aid agency Save the Children from a compound in western Somalia, the agency and a witness said Friday.

Local resident Moalim Bashir said he did not know who had taken the two men on Thursday evening from the town of Adado, near the border with Ethiopia.

He said tensions in the town were high as a militia was massing to the south and might attempt to try to take the town from those currently in control.

Several forces have gunmen in the area, including pirate gangs and factions of militias allied to the government. The area was considered to be a safer part of Somalia and some aid agencies, which have mostly pulled out of the chaotic country, were considering returning.

"At this point, Save the Children have no further information as to the whereabouts or well-being of their staff," the organization said in a statement.

The British Foreign Office said it was investigating the reports of the kidnap.

Kidnapping for ransom is common in Somalia. The hostages are rarely hurt and people are usually freed after a ransom is paid.

The lawless Horn of Africa nation has not had a functioning government for nearly 20 years.

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