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Spanish hostages released by al-Qaeda

Two men who had been held by al-Qaeda’s North African wing have been released after a nine month ordeal.

A girl walks past a wall with graffiti about the al-Qaida network in a Muslim area of the northern city of Kano, Nigeria

THE SPANISH GOVERNMENT has said that two of its nationals, taken hostage by al-Qaeda’s North African wing over nine months ago, are now “en route to freedom“.

Last November, Barcelona-Accio Solidaria aidworkers Roque Pascal and Albert Vitalta were seized in Mauritania, in north-east Africa. A third aidworker Alicia Gomez was also kidnapped but was released last in March.

Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) operates in the vastly empty stretches of land in Mauritania, Algeria, Mali and Niger, and has kidnapped several westerners recently.

It is one of the longest-running kidnapping cases in the Sahara desert.

The pair are thought to be moving south through Mali, where they were released, to Burkina Faso.

It is unclear whether a ransom was paid for the men’s release. AQIM had reportedly demanded $5m (€3,938).

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