Canadian journalist reported abducted in Somalia

There are reports that gunmen in Somalia have abducted two journalists, a woman in her late 20s from Alberta and an Australian man.

A freelance journalist from Alberta is believed to have been abducted at gunpoint near Somalia's capital Mogadishu, a family member said Saturday.

Amanda Lindhout, a freelance journalist and native of Red Deer, Alta., is shown in this undated photo. ((Red Deer Advocate/Canadian Press))

The uncle of Amanda Lindhout told CBC News her family has been contacted by the Canadian government and is waiting for more information.

She had recently travelled to Somalia after working in Iraq for a news channel, her father, John Lindhout, said from his home in Sylvan Lake, Alta.

It's believed Amanda Lindhout, 26, along with Nigel Brennan, a 37-year-old freelance  Australian photojournalist from Brisbane, were being held hostage by gunmen in Mogadishu, the National Union of Somali Journalists said.

A Somali translator and two bodyguards set off with the journalists on Saturday morning for a location near Elasha, 18 kilometres south of the capital, according to Mohamed Ajos, head of security at Mogadishu's Shamo Hotel.

Abdikahim Haji, the brother-in-law of Abdifatah Elmi, one of the bodyguards, told the Associated Press that he spoke by telephone with his brother-in-law at the time of the abduction.

Freelance reporter Abdurahman Warsameh said it's believed the group was in a vehicle that was stopped by gunmen as it travelled to a refugee camp.

Lindhout had written several articles for the Red Deer Advocate newspaper in the last six months, editor John Stewart said.

She wrote two columns from Somalia, which she called the "most dangerous place on Earth." She wrote "nowhere do you feel safe," Stewart said.

Kidnappings are common in Somalia, where Islamist insurgents have been fighting the interim government and its Ethiopian military allies since the start of last year.

Warsameh told CBC News it's not unusual for armed groups who are fighting the government to kidnap foreigners, but he added these acts more often carried out by what he called "freelance gunmen" with no affiliation to any group.