Garowe ‚Äî Puntland Police arrested two foreign nationals from Britain and France accused of spying on Puntland and illegally mining precious materials, Garowe Online reports.
Puntland Security Minister Khalif Isse Mudan said that the two foreigners-French national Quentin Ygorra and British national Alasdair Walton- were arrested in Puntland capital of Garowe on 14 November following a three-month investigation into Oversight International Company.
“The foreigners entered the region as local NGO workers but they were aiming to engage in intelligence-gathering activities and also to exploit our natural resources,” Mudan told reporters in Garowe on Monday.
“Investigations are still underway because the arrest follows intelligence reports and now they are in breach of local authority conditions,” added the Security Minister.
Various items of minerals including precious stones, suspected to be mined illegally by the two were seized along with computers.
Puntland Government in northern Somalia said in statement that the French and British citizens have been working for Oversight International, a shady organizations that registered in Puntland as a local NGO in March 2013.
“A search of the organization’s office in Garowe revealed that Oversight International was illegally collecting classified information about public institutions and private sector in Puntland. The organization was also sharing the classified information with foreign entities,” the statement noted.
It is yet unclear whether the detained foreign nationals would appear before court as they had involved in spying and illegal mining activities according to Puntland Security Agencies.