A British journalist was kidnapped today while investigating piracy in Somalia, African police said.
The Foreign Office launched an urgent investigation into reports from local officers that a Briton – along with a Lebanese journalist – was captured in the strife-torn nation.
Abshir Abdi Jama, a police spokesman in the northern region of Puntland, was unable to confirm the pair’s identity, but said they were working on a story about piracy.
The second journalist was Irish rather than Lebanese, an adviser to the president of Puntland told CNN.
Bile Qabow Sade said the pair were kidnapped in a market.
Two other foreign journalists who were abducted near the Somali capital Mogadishu in August have still not been released.
The alleged kidnap comes after one of the British sailors held captive on a hijacked oil tanker made light of his ordeal, saying the hostages’ families “don’t have too much to worry about”.
Citing intelligence, Jama said he was unable to elaborate on the latest kidnap.
He added: “They were kidnapped, they are not missing.”
Somalia, an impoverished nation caught up in Islamic insurgency, has not had a functioning government since 1991.
The situation has gained international attention since pirates attacked the Sirius Star on November 15, 420 nautical miles off the coast.
The 1,080ft (330m) long ship was fully laden with two million barrels of oil when pirates boarded it and is the largest vessel ever to be hijacked in a region which has become notorious for piracy.