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Four Swedes arrested in Somalia

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STOCKHOLM, Sweden (CNN) -- Four Swedes have been arrested in Somalia on suspicion of possibly having fought alongside Islamic militants, but the four have not yet been charged, Swedish officials told CNN.

"Four Swedes have been arrested in connection with the unrest in Somalia," Swedish Foreign Ministry spokesman Andre Mkandawire told CNN.

Three of the four were Swedish citizens, while the fourth had permanent residency status, said Mkandawire. "But all four are being treated equally as Swedes."

Somalia has long been a volatile, war-torn nation. Recently, Somalia forces -- backed by the Ethiopian military -- ousted the militant Islamic Courts Union from power and established a transitional government.

It is not clear precisely where, when and by whom the four have been detained.

Jens Odlander -- Sweden's ambassador for the Somali peace process who is based in the Swedish Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya -- said the four apparently were seized as they were fleeing a war zone, possibly in early January.

No charges have been filed against the four detained people at the present time, Odlander told CNN from Nairobi.

Odlander said three of those detained have dual citizenship -- Swedish and other nationalities he wouldn't disclose.

Two were in bad health when they were seized, and one of them had been held in Kenya for a while.

Odlander said there are ongoing talks on the detentions, but would not provide more details about them, saying the diplomatic situation is very sensitive at the moment.

Officials at the Swedish Embassy in Nairobi were also working to provide consular assistance to the four detained.

Officials from Somalia's transitional government could not be reached for comment.

Sweden has decided to be involved in helping Somalia's war-wracked economy and infrastructure.

The Swedish government said on Monday it would give Somalia's transitional government financial aid for its long-term development -- about $7 million for 2007, and humanitarian aid amounting to $14 million.

-- CNN's Pierre Meilhan contributed to this report.


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Armed Somali government forces patrol the streets in the capital Mogadishu.

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