"We do not know the identity of the kidnappers or their demands, but we will do everything possible to seek the release of our diplomats," the Libyan official said

Libya and Sudan are the only countries to have kept a continued, albeit intermittent, diplomatic presence in Somalia throughout the civil strife that has engulfed the nation since Mohamed Siad Barre was forced from power in 1991.

The diplomats' Somali driver was briefly taken but was later released and sounded the alarm.

The motive for the abduction was not immediately clear, but Somali criminal gangs have previously demanded large ransoms to free hostages.

The abduction comes just days after the release of two foreign nurses who had been held in northern Somalia and who had been working for a charity.

On Wednesday, a Spanish doctor and an Argentinian nurse were freed after one week in captivity in Somalia's breakaway republic of Puntland.
  
Local media reported that their captors had demanded a $365,000 ransom, but the Spanish foreign ministry insisted no money was paid to secure their freedom.

Last month, a French cameraman who was in Puntland to film a documentary on the smuggling of refugees from Somalia across the Gulf of Aden, was also freed after being held for more than a week.