Two men, one British, one French, have been arrested in Somalia’s semi-autonomous Puntland region, accused of illegally collecting mineral samples, the local security minister said on Monday.
The two men were arrested on Thursday after a three-month investigation into company called Oversight International, Puntland Security Minister Khalif Isse Mudan said in a statement released on Monday.
“Oversight International engaged in the illegal activity of collecting mineral samples without permission of the Puntland government,” Mudan said. Two local Somali staff were also arrested.
On its website, Oversight International describes itself as a Puntland-focused consultancy and said it is “allowed and registered as a Private Security Company with the Government of the State of Puntland”.
Reuters was unable to contact the company for comment. An email to Oversight International did not receive a reply.
Mudan accused Oversight International of “sharing classified information with foreign entities”. It did not elaborate.
The French Foreign Ministry was not available for comment. Britain’s Foreign Office said it was in touch with the Somali authorities about the matter.