A French journalist who was kidnapped by armed gunmen in northern Somalia is "safe and fine" and could be released soon, the region's deputy governor said Monday. "We have sent clan elders to secure the release of the journalist," Yusuf Mumin Bidde told The Associated Press. "He is safe and fine. We are hopeful that he will be released soon." Bidde refused to comment when asked how he knows the reporter's condition, saying it was a security issue. The reporter, identified by media watchdog Reporters Without Borders as cameraman Gwen Le Gouil, was kidnapped Sunday morning in Puntland, a semiautonomous region in northern Somalia. The area is relatively stable in a country beset by chaos and violence. But in recent months, it has increasingly become associated with rampant piracy off its coast.