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Briton held hostage in Somalia 'in good spirits'

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A British security consultant who was kidnapped by armed gunman in Somalia is "well and is being looked after", the charity Save the Children has said.

The consultant, and a local worker, who was later freed unharmed, were seized in the town of Adado on Thursday.

Anna Ford, Save the Children's spokeswoman in Nairobi, said: "We can confirm that he is well. He is being looked after and is in good spirits."

She also called for his release, the Press Association news agency reported.

She said the charity was still extremely concerned for the welfare of the man - a British national who was born in Zimbabwe.

'Relatively safe area'

The security consultant had gone to the area to see if it was safe enough for Save the Children to set up a new base to help malnourished and sick children, along with their families.

But on Thursday evening, a group of masked gunmen stormed the building used as a staff residence.

High walls and a heavy steel gate reportedly forced the kidnappers to climb in through a window before they fled with their hostages into an area said to be controlled by the hardline Islamist group al-Shabab, which has links to al-Qaeda.

Adado, which is near the Ethiopian border, is also closely linked to pirate groups who routinely take ships and crew hostage and demand hefty ransoms.

Until now, Adado had been seen as a relatively stable part of Somalia, with aid groups considering relocating there after being forced out of more volatile regions.

Several foreigners have been kidnapped in Somalia in recent years.

Most have been freed unhurt after a ransom has been paid.

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