MOGADISHU: Gunmen abducted an Egyptian teacher in Somalia s relatively peaceful northwestern breakaway republic where such kidnappings are rare, officials said Wednesday.
Mohamed Mustafa Ibrahim was stopped late Tuesday as he went to a mosque in Burao, the second largest town in the self-declared Republic of Somaliland, said Jama Abdullahi, a senior government official.
The gunmen bundled Ibrahim into a car and took him to an undisclosed location, said Abdullahi, the governor of the Tog Dheer region where the abduction took place.
Police were searching for the kidnappers, Somaliland police chief Ahmed Saqadhe Dubad said.
Last year saw a rise in kidnappings in Somalia with foreigners often being targeted for ransoms on land and off Somalia s lawless coast, where pirates are holding about a dozen ships. At least six foreign aid workers and journalists remain in captivity in Somalia.
However, it is rare for abductions to take place in northwestern region of Somaliland, which declared its independence from Somalia in 1991 and has its own regularly elected government, parliament and judiciary. The breakaway republic has avoided much of the chaos and anarchy that exists in the rest of the country.
Somalia has not had a functioning government since 1991, when rival warlords overthrew dictator Mohamed Siad Barre and then turned on each other. In the past year, thousands of civilians have been killed in fighting, particularly in the capital, Mogadishu, and hundreds of thousands have fled the violence there.