Nouakchott: Three Spanish tourists have been kidnapped in northwestern Mauritania on the road linking the capital Nouakchott to the city of Nouadhibou, a Spanish diplomatic source said.
"Three tourists have been kidnapped, including a woman," the source said on condition of anonymity. "They were in a car, the last vehicle of a convoy that was heading from Nouadhibou to Nouakchott."
The source said the convoy had earlier delivered aid to Nouadhibou and was transporting donations that they intended to drop off in various towns along the route.
A security source also confirmed "the kidnapping of tourists" by armed men in a 4x4 vehicle near the town of Chelkhett Legtouta. Mauritanian authorities were searching for the kidnappers, the source said.
The incident came days after a French citizen was kidnapped in the northeast of neighbouring Mali.
Militants from al Qaeda`s north African branch were holding the French citizen in the Sahara, a Malian security source has said.
Several Westerners have been kidnapped in recent months in Africa`s Sahel region and transported to northern Mali before being freed.
In June, however, the al Qaeda militants announced on a website that they had beheaded Briton Edwin Dyer because London would not meet their demands. It was believed to be the first time the group had killed a Western hostage.