WINDHOEK, Namibia (AP) _ A West German man and his South African girlfriend were kidnapped and taken at gunpoint across the border into Angola while canoeing on Christmas Eve, police and witnesses said today.

Axel Puhl, who has lived in the South African-controlled territory of Namibia for 15 years, disappeared into Angola in the area controlled by the U.S.-backed National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA), friends said.

He and his girlfriend, Anelise Gevers, were reported missing by workers at a Mission Hospital near the Kavango River when they did not return to their parked vehicles after a canoeing trip.

Police said witnesses reported seeing unidentified men firing at the canoes and forcing the two to the Angolan side of the river, where they were taken away at gunpoint.

Puhl, 43, works for Phillips Telecommunications, an international company. The West German observer mission in Namibia said it had been notified of the reported abduction and was checking on it.