Frenchman ‘flees Somali captors’

Al-Shabab and its allies control much of southern SomaliaA French security adviser seized by Islamist militants in Somalia has escaped his captors, officials say.

The Frenchman, who was kidnapped from a hotel in Mogadishu along with a colleague last month, reportedly killed three militants as he made his escape.

Nothing is known of the fate of the second hostage, who may have been held by a different rebel faction.

The pair were part of a team training government forces, who are battling the rebels for control of the country.

A spokesman for the interim government, Abdulkadir Hussein Wehliye, said the man who escaped was in the presidential palace and “in a good mood”.

Police official Abdiqadir Odweyne told Reuters the man killed three of the militants who were guarding him.

“I cannot understand how this good story happened but now he is in the hands of the government,” he said.

Islamist rebels from al-Shabab and its ally Hizbul-Islam control much of southern Somalia.

Both groups are said to have links to al-Qaeda and have been reinforced by foreign fighters.

Somalia has not had a functioning central government since 1991.

Moderate Islamist Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed was sworn in as president in January after UN-brokered peace talks.

He promised to introduce Sharia law but the hardliners accuse him of being a western stooge.