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Troops Free Foreign Oil Worker in Somalia


Somali officials say security forces have freed a foreign oil worker who was abducted Wednesday in the semi-autonomous Puntland region.

Officials say at least one kidnapper was killed and another injured in fighting to rescue the hostage, as Puntland soldiers clashed with the kidnappers near the city of Bosasso.

The oil worker, an employee of the Canada-based Africa Oil Corporation, was unharmed. There are conflicting reports on whether he is British or Pakistani.

Police did not immediately identify the kidnappers. But some officials in the region say the oil worker had been abducted by his bodyguards.

Foreigners are often targeted for kidnapping and ransom in Puntland and other parts of Somalia.

Separately, officials say at least two people were abducted Monday near Somalia's border with Kenya, including a Kenyan agricultural ministry official. Further details were not immediately available.

Somalia is believed to have oil reserves but violence and chaos have hampered exploration.

Puntland has largely been spared the clashes wracking Somalia's capital, Mogadishu, but has become a haven for pirates on the coast who have hijacked dozens of ships this year.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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