The vehicle was found in an area where armed groups with links to al Qaeda are known to operate, and a local journalist said they had probably been kidnapped.
Here are details about foreigners held throughout Africa:
November 2009 - Frenchman Laurent Maurice, an agronomist, was kidnapped on Nov. 9 near the border with Sudan, while working for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Chad. The ICRC suspended its activities in the region on Nov. 10.
CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC:
November 2009 - A group calling itself the African Free Eagles said on Nov. 30. it had kidnapped three French aid workers -- Maurice in Chad, and two in the Central African Republic (CAR) -- and threatened to kill them unless the French authorities began negotiations.
The two hostages seized in the CAR work for the French-based aid agency Triangle and are being held separately from Maurice.
November 2009 - Pierre Kamat, a Frenchman, was kidnapped on Nov. 25 after visiting the town of Tinderman, officials said.
November 2009 - Spaniards Albert Vilalta, Alicia Gamez and Roque Pascual disappeared on Nov. 29 from a convoy run by a Barcelona-based humanitarian aid organisation to deliver computers and other equipment to poor communities.
Mauritanian security sources said an attack took place on the road between the capital Nouakchott and the coastal trading city of Nouadhibou.
Mali believes the three Spanish aid workers are being held on its territory by al Qaeda's wing in North Africa, a source close to efforts to free them said on Dec. 16.
April 2008 - A Briton and a Kenyan working on a U.N.-funded project were seized by gunmen and taken to Jilib, 280 km (175 miles) south of Mogadishu. They are still being held.
July 2009 - Somali gunmen kidnapped two French security advisers working for the government from the Sahafi Hotel in Mogadishu on July 14. Police said one escaped on Aug. 26 after killing three of his captors, but Marc Aubriere denied killing anyone and said he slipped away while his guards slept.
More ships were seized in December by pirates, now holding at least 14 vessels and more than 230 crew members hostage. Captives include a British couple whose yacht was hijacked off the Seychelles. In the latest incident, pirates seized an Indian dhow on on Dec. 13.
October 2009 - French aid worker Gauthier Lefevre was captured in Darfur on Oct. 22. The 35-year-old is head of the ICRC's office in el-Geneina, west Darfur, and his captors have demanded a $1 million ransom. Sudan has refused to pay. Sudan arrested three Sudanese in late November suspected of helping to kidnap Lefevre.
- Reuters - Thomson Reuters Foundation
- For more humanitarian news and analysis, please visit https://www.trust.org/alertnet