Spain announces release of aid worker kidnapped by Islamic militants, but 2 others still held

By Daniel Woolls, AP
Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Spain: Aid worker in Africa released by militants

MADRID — A Spanish aid worker kidnapped late last year in Mauritania by suspected Islamic militants was freed Wednesday but two colleagues remain in captivity, the Spanish government said.

Alicia Gamez, 35, is now on a plane to Barcelona after spending more than three months as a hostage, Deputy Prime Minister Maria Teresa Fernandez de la Vega told a hastily called news conference. She said she had spoken to the volunteer aid worker, whose full-time job is as a court clerk in Barcelona.

“Alicia is safe and sound,” the deputy premier said. Asked if a ransom had been paid, she said “there was no payment.”

Gamez and two male colleagues from an aid group called Barcelona Accion Solidaria were kidnapped by gunmen Nov. 29 while delivering relief material to poor villages. Al-Qaida’s North African offshoot claimed responsibility.

Fernandez de la Vega said the government is now concentrating on winning the release of the two remaining hostages, businessmen Roque Pascual and Albert Vilalta.

Asked why Gamez was released and the others were not, the deputy premier said, “That happens sometimes with this kind of kidnapping. There is no objective reason.”

will not be displayed