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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Abducted UN aid workers freed in Somalia


The four United Nations aid workers kidnapped by unknown gunmen in southern Somalia have been released and are safe, officials say.

The aid workers, three of them foreigners, were abducted Monday as they were traveling in their car to the airstrip near Wajid, 340km (210 miles) northwest of the capital Mogadishu.

They were on their way from Puntland in northern Somalia to Kenya when they were snatched by about 20 armed men.

Press TV has learned that the aid workers, working for the World Food Program and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), were released after negotiations between local elders and the abductors and that no ransom was paid to obtain the aid workers' release.

UN officials speaking on condition of anonymity also confirmed the release, saying the men are in good health and are now back in a UN compound.

Foreign journalists and aid workers are frequently attacked by armed gangs in Somalia; the kidnappers usually free their hostages after receiving ransoms.

In 2008, some 35 aid workers were killed and 26 others abducted in the war-ravaged country.

We all wish Amanda and Nigel are next to be freed...