Gunmen demand millions to release four captives

MOGADISHU - A government minister says Somali gunmen have demanded R7980480 for the release of a German couple, their young son and a French boat captain.

MOGADISHU - A government minister says Somali gunmen have demanded R7980480 for the release of a German couple, their young son and a French boat captain.

The Europeans were seized on Monday off the Gulf of Aden and taken to Puntland, a semi-autonomous region of northern Somalia.

Jama Hirsi Farah, minister of state for security in the region, said yesterday that the kidnappers had demanded the money.

The condition of the captives was not immediately clear. A clan elder who is helping in negotiations said the boy was suffering from a fever and needed medical help.

Kidnappings and piracy are on the rise in Somalia, where hijackers demand - and often receive - huge ransoms. The 3025-kilometre-long) coast is overrun with pirates. - Sapa-AP

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