Kidnappers free two Western journalists in Somalia

January 5th, 2009 - 3:02 pm ICT by IANS  

Bosasso (Somalia), Jan 5 (IANS) A Spanish and a British journalist have been freed after almost six weeks in captivity in Somalia’s volatile Puntland state, EFE reported.Spanish photographer Jose Cendon and British journalist Colin Freeman were released Sunday morning by their kidnappers in northern Somalia, an official said, adding that the journalists returned to their International Village Hotel here.

The journalists were abducted Nov 26 as they headed towards the airport after completing a reporting assignment on Somali piracy, the report said.

An undisclosed amount had been paid for the release of the journalists, a police official said.

A member of the Ali Saleban clan, to which the kidnappers apparently belonged, told EFE on telephone that a ransom of 200,000 euros ($280,000) was paid for their release.

Venezuela-born Cendon has won several awards for his work on sub-Saharan Africa, including the 2007 Oskar Barnack Leica Prize for the story “Fear in the Great Lakes”, which took him to psychiatric hospitals in Rwanda, Burundi and Congo.

Freeman works for Britain’s Daily Telegraph.

In recent months Somali pirates have become active, seizing several dozen ships, including the Saudi-owned supertanker MV Sirius Star and Ukrainian cargo ship Faina. The pirates are still holding over a dozen vessels for ransom.

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