Witnesses in Somalia say heavily armed Islamist militants have killed four foreign teachers at a school in the central part of the country.

The four were killed late Sunday when suspected al-Qaida-linked rebels attacked the town of Baladwayne, north of the capital, Mogadishu.

Local residents say three of the victims are women - one British and two Kenyan.  The fourth victim is reported to be a Somali man with British citizenship who had returned to his home town to build a school.

The rebels targeted the houses of government officials, burning the home of the regional governor Yusuf Dabaged as well as the school.  The militants briefly held the entire town before withdrawing.

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