Japanese doctor, Dutch nurse abducted in Ethiopia freed

January 8th, 2009 - 1:20 pm ICT by IANS  

Paris, Jan 8 (Xinhua) A female Japanese doctor and a male Dutch nurse abducted in Ethiopia while volunteering for a French medical aid charity have been freed, the organisation has announced. “Medecins du Monde announces the release of its two volunteers, Keiko Akahane and Wilhem Sools, abducted on September 22, 2008, in Ethiopia and held in Somalia. They were freed at midday and are safe,” the Paris-based organisation said in a statement on its website Wednesday.

The release of 32-year-old Akahane was confirmed by Japan’s Foreign Ministry.

The ministry said she is currently in Kenya and in good condition.

Akahane and Sools were abducted by a Somali armed group in the Ogaden region of eastern Ethiopia, about 80 km from the Somali border.

The group had initially demanded a ransom of $3 million, but the statement did not say whether any money was paid before the doctor and nurse were released.

Kidnapping of foreigners for ransom is common in war-torn Somalia.

A Spanish photographer and a British writer imprisoned for weeks were released Jan 4 in the northern Somali region of Puntland.

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