Indonesia: 'Contact made' with kidnapped Briton

Map showing Aceh Aceh has a history of separatist conflicts and violence

Police in Indonesia say contact has been made with kidnapped British oil engineer Malcolm Primrose.

The 61-year-old appeared to be in good health, said a police spokesman in the northern Sumatran province of Aceh.

Mr Primrose was reportedly seized by a group of armed men who ambushed his car on Tuesday.

BBC correspondent Karishma Vaswani says an extensive search and rescue operation involving police and soldiers is continuing.

Mr Primrose is understood to have been working for Indonesian energy company Medco Exploration and Production. He was travelling back from a mine site when the ambush happened, according to local police; his driver was left tied up at the scene and there was no indication of shots being fired.

So far, no ransom demands have been reported.

The British embassy in Jakarta said it was in touch with the local authorities and the man's family. No further details about him have been released.

Resource-rich

Aceh is a resource-rich province and strongly Muslim area that has had a history of separatist conflicts and violence, including towards foreigners, but the conflict ended in a peace deal in 2005.

Although the province has been considered generally safe for foreigners to work in since the dispute was largely resolved, there are still plenty of firearms in private hands and kidnaps for ransom do occur, BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner said.

Dr Sajjan Gohel, an expert on international terrorism and the director for international security at the Asia Pacific Foundation think tank, told the BBC's Good Morning Scotland programme: "Aceh is a very conservative province, so they are somewhat angry at the foreign presence of companies that may be there.

"But nevertheless, no-one would have anticipated this happening in Aceh. It's more likely that other provinces would have been more susceptible to hostage-taking."

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