Somali rebels abduct new woman minister: Witnesses

The Shebab have waged bloody battles to topple the Western-backed Somali government.

Last Updated: Jul 21, 2011, 23:26 PM IST

Mogadishu: Al Qaeda-inspired insurgents
in Somalia today abducted and detained a newly appointed woman
minister while she was on her way to take up office, officials
and witnesses said.

Asha Osman Aqiil was named women and family affairs
minister yesterday. She was kidnapped by the Shebab fighters
in Balad town, some 30 kilometres (19 miles) north of the
capital Mogadishu.

"Asha Osman Aqiil... is in a jail in Balad town...
after she was kidnapped on her way to Mogadishu to take her
new post," said Ahmed Sheikh Mohamud, a clan elder.

"It is unfortunate that she is in the hands of the
wrong people and we are praying that she is freed," a lawmaker
said on condition of anonymity.

The Shebab have waged bloody battles to topple the
Western-backed Somali government.

PTI