HOSTAGE CRISIS

Spaniards freed by terrorists in Mali after nine months

Aid workers were snatched in Western Sahara refugee camp by Al Qaeda-linked group

Two Spanish aid workers who were kidnapped last October in the Sahrawi refugee camps of Tindouf, Algeria, have been released in Mali.

Ainhoa Fernández de Rincón and Enric Gonyalons were abducted by the terrorist group MUJAO (which has ties to Al Qaeda). Another radical Islamist group that controls much of northern Mali, Ansar al Din, announced the release on Wednesday.

Spain was due to send an airplane to take both aid workers home, according to the news agency Europa Press, which quoted government sources.

The Islamists said they had also freed an Italian aid worker, Rosella Urru, although the Italian Foreign Ministry did not confirm it.

All three were kidnapped on the night of October 22, 2011 inside the Western Sahara refugee camp of Rabuni, in the Algerian desert, where they were providing assistance to refugees.

Two other Spanish aid workers taken in Kenya remain hostage

“They told us that all three hostages had been released in the region of Gao [northeastern Mali],” Sanda Ould Boumama, spokesman for Ansar al Din, told Reuters. Boumama added that he believed the aid workers were currently with mediators from Burkina Faso, the country that most commonly plays a mediating role in kidnapping cases.

A spokesman for the non-profit organization Mundabat, which Eric Gonyalons worked with, said that the chances of release were good after a negotiation carried out last week in Burkina Faso, but that they’d preferred not to get their hopes up because in other cases there had been last-minute problems that halted the prisoner release.

Last December, the Spanish and the Italian governments received evidence that the hostages were alive in the form of a video recording of one minute and 23 seconds in which each aid worker spoke in his or her own language, stating who they worked for and asking the corresponding authorities to make all necessary efforts for their release.

It was the first time that a terrorist group had claimed a kidnapping by sending a note in French and Arabic to the Agence France Presse office in Bamako (Mali).

Two other Spanish aid workers remain hostage: Blanca Thiebaut and Montserrat Serra, of Doctors Without Borders, who were kidnapped on October 13 at the refugee camp of Ifo, in Dadaab (Kenya).

Para poder comentar debes estar registrado en Eskup y haber iniciado sesión

Darse de alta ¿Por qué darse de alta?

Otras noticias

Avatar
Corresponsal diplomático y de Defensa de EL PAÍS

Últimas noticias

Ver todo el día

Condenado el alcalde de Cercs por autorizar una nave en área protegida

La juez le impone un año de prisión y ocho de inhabilitación para cargo público

El Atlético-Madrid, el miércoles 7 de enero a las 21.00

EP

La Federación retrasa el partido una hora sobre lo previsto

El atacante a la sede del PP quería encargarse de las setas de su pueblo

Daniel Pérez llevaba días fabricando una bomba casera con instrucciones de Internet

Telefónica no tendrá que compartir su red fibra en Madrid y Barcelona

La CNMC propone abrir las nuevas redes de banda ancha pero excluye a los nueve municipios con mayor despliegue

LATIN AMERICA

Colombia’s FARC guerrillas declare unilateral and indefinite ceasefire

Government must decide whether to do the same or risk ending truce

Bolivia seeks to improve its image abroad

President Morales is trying to reset relations with the US in order to boost its lawsuit against Chile over sea access

Mexico’s animal hell

Elena Reina Muñoz Mexico City

Every Monday ill and mistreated livestock is sold at the San Bernabé market in appalling conditions

Lo más visto en...

» Top 50

Webs de PRISA

cerrar ventana