Two female aid workers from Medecins Sans Frontieres in Somalia are still missing after being kidnapped this morning. Spanish doctor Mercedes Garcia and Argentinian nurse Pilar Bouza were seized en route to a hospital in the northern port of Bosasso. Their driver said the kidnappers blocked the road, attacked him, and drove off with the women.
It is the latest in a series of abductions in the region; a French cameraman was released on Monday after being held for a week. Soldiers hunted the kidnappers down and local officials say they were surrounded and shots were fired, but there has been no sign of the women.
What will happen next is unclear. The regional vice president said negotiations are illegal, because kidnapping is becoming big business. He said force would be used to free the hostages.
Northern Somalia is relatively stable compared to the chaotic south. But kidnappings, hijackings and piracy are on the rise. In general, kidnappers have tended to treat their hostages well, regarding them as an investment worthy of ransom.