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Britain warns of specific security threat in Somalia

  • Somali government police forces guard arrested suspected al Shabaab members during an operation in the Madina district of Somalia's capital Mogadishu January 15, 2013. REUTERS/Feisal Omar

LONDON: The British government warned on Sunday of a "specific threat" to foreigners in Somalia's breakaway enclave of Somaliland and urged its nationals to leave the country immediately.

Britain's Foreign Office gave no details of the threat in the Horn of Africa state, but highlighted in a statement the ongoing danger of "kidnapping for financial or political gain, motivated by criminality or terrorism".

"We are now aware of a specific threat to Westerners in Somaliland, and urge any British nationals who remain there against our advice to leave immediately," the statement said.

It follows a warning from European countries on Thursday of a "specific and imminent" threat to foreigners in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi.

Britain warned earlier this month of a growing militant threat in North Africa, which Prime Minister David Cameron has called a "magnet for jihadists".

The warnings came after at least 38 hostages were killed in a militant attack on Algeria's In Amenas natural gas complex near the Libyan border earlier this month, along with the start of French military operations against Islamist rebels in Mali.

 
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