MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) — Gunmen kidnapped an American man in the northern Somali town of Galkayo on Saturday, officials said.
The gunmen surrounded the man's car shortly after the man left the airport, said policeman Abdi Hassan Nur, who witnessed the incident. He said they then forced the American into another vehicle.
Galkayo is on the border between the semiautonomous northern region of Puntland and a region known as Galmudug. It is ruled by forces friendly to the U.N.-backed Somali government.
A minister from the Galmudug administration said the kidnapped man is an American engineer who came to Somalia to carry out an evaluation for building a deep water port in the town of Hobyo. The gunmen severely beat the foreigner's Somali companion when he begged them not to take the man, said the minister.
The minister spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press.
A staff member at the Embassy Hotel, where the man was staying, said the American had gone to the airport to drop off an Indian colleague. The hotel said that the man had both American and German citizenship. The staff member asked not to be identified because he was not supposed to give out information about guests.
In October, gunmen kidnapped an American woman and a Danish man working for the Danish Demining Group from the same town. They are still being held.
Kidnapping for ransom is has become increasingly common in Somalia over the past five years. Currently at least four aid workers, a French military official, a British tourist taken from Kenya and hundreds of sailors are being held captive.