Algerian security official abducted near Libya
AFP, Tuesday 17 Jan 2012
Security official Mohamed El Aid Khelfi is abducted near the Libyan border, and his location still remains unknown

An Algerian regional security official was kidnapped from a town near the border with Libya after travelling there to defuse a youth protest, the interior ministry and local officials said Tuesday.

Mohamed el Aid Khelfi, the top security official for the Sahara desert region of Illizi, was abducted Monday "by three young Algerians, who were armed and have been identified," the ministry said in a statement sent to the official APS news agency.

His car was found near the site of his abduction in the southeastern town of Debdeb, it added.

Khelfi was able to contact his family by telephone on Monday but could not reveal where he was located, officials said.

No one has yet claimed responsibility for the kidnapping.