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Somali govt in talks with kidnappers: minister

world Updated: Jul 16, 2009 19:20 IST
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Somalia's social affairs minister says his government is negotiating with the kidnappers of two French security advisers taken in Mogadishu earlier this week.

Minister Mohammed Ali Ibrahim told France 24 television that Somalia's Prime Minister was able to talk with one of the hostages "to reassure him." He says the two men have been split up but apparently are in good health.

The minister said Thursday the hostages were in Mogadishu but being held by two separate groups, the Al Shabaab party and the Hizbul Islam party. Both are among Islamist groups fighting the government. The minister said "we are negotiating with them" to obtain freedom for the hostages.

The two men were abducted Tuesday while on a mission to train Somali government forces that fighting Islamist forces.