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Somali defence minister detained in Uganda: spy chief

Somalia's defence minister was detained by Ugandan security agents on Tuesday during a visit to Kampala and has not been kidnapped, Uganda's military intelligence chief said.

world Updated: Oct 07, 2009 07:13 IST

Somalia's defence minister was detained by Ugandan security agents on Tuesday during a visit to Kampala and has not been kidnapped, Uganda's military intelligence chief said.

Ugandan Defence Minister Youssuf Mohamed Siad was "picked as a security measure by Uganda state security," the chief of Uganda's military intelligence service, James Mugira, told AFP.

"We quickly realised he was a minister," said General Mugira. "It was not a kidnapping." Mugira declined to comment further except to say Siad is safe.

A member of the Somali government who had traveled to Kampala confirmed, on condition of anonymity, that Siad is "safe and sound in the hands of the Ugandan government."

A powerful Mogadishu warlord and former member of Islamic Tribunals which ruled the country in 2006, Siad is now a key member of Somalia's internationally-backed transition government that is battling Islamic insurgents.