Burkinabe president receives freed Spanish refugees on their way home

18:07, August 24, 2010      

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Burkina Faso's President Blaise Compaore met with the freed Spanish hostages on Monday night before their return to Spain, according to the government.

Compaore received Albert Vilaltra and Roque Pascual at the Presidential Palace in Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso, after they arrived on board a helicopter accompanied by several Burkinabe officials.

The two men were released on Monday after 268 days in captivity by al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) in the northern desert of Mali, which borders Burkina Faso in the south.

Upon his arrival, Vilaltra said it was a great day for him and thanked all who had worked for their release.

The two ex-hostages arrived in the territory of Burkina Faso at about 1500 GMT. After the meeting with the Burkinabe president, they went on board a plane to Barcelona, according to the presidential office.

The Burkinabe authorities had played "an essential role" in the liberation of the hostages coming to Ouagadougou, according to some local sources, who declined to be identified.

Vilaltra and Pascual, who worked with the Barcelona based charity Accio Solidaria, were kidnapped along with a female worker, Alicia Gamez, in November 2009 en route to deliver humanitarian aid in Mauritania.

They were then transferred to an AQIM base in the desert in northern Mali. Gamez was released in April.

Source:Xinhua

(Editor:黄蓓蓓)

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