Austrian hostages freed in Mali

October 31st, 2008 - 10:27 pm ICT by IANS  

Vienna, Oct 31 (DPA) Two Austrians kidnapped by a terrorist group in Tunisia in February were freed Thursday night in Mali, Austria’s foreign ministry announced Friday.Wolfgang Ebner, 51, and Andrea Kloiber, 43, were on holiday in the Sahara desert when they were taken hostage allegedly by the terrorist organisation Al Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb.

“Both are currently under the protection of the Mali Army and are on their way to the capital Bamako,” Austrian Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik said in a statement.

The kidnap victims are in relatively good health, according to Mali authorities, and would soon be met by Austrian officials in Bamako, the ministry said.

The kidnappers had demanded a ransom payment for the release of five members of their group from Algeria and Tunisia.

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