Aid Workers Freed in Somalia Arrive in Spain

Source: ABC (Spain)

Montserrat Serra and Blanca Thiebaut two MSF aid workers freed in Somalia yesterday, landed at four in the afternoon at the airbase of Torrejon de Ardoz in Spain, as confirmed by Doctors Without Borders (Medicos Sin Fronteras).The arrival of both occurred in the presence of his family, said in a statement medical humanitarian organization in Spain.

Its president, Jos√© Antonio Bastos, appeared this morning before the media at the headquarters of the NGO is in the center of Madrid. Alongside Bastos was Ines (Pictured), sister of Blanca, with whom he has been able to talk in the last few hours to check that both are “good spirits”, but stressed that they “need time” to regain normalcy after 21 months of ordeal. In that sense, has sought the cooperation of the public and the media and said, “the important thing is to preserve the time and space to care for them and help them.”

NGO president has not disclosed details of the operation, “which had been under preparation for several days” because it could “endanger the life of another” found in the region.¬†Bastos has thanked the “hundreds of thousands” of messages of support and discreet involvement of the media and the Spanish Government, with whom he has maintained had insured “constructive engagement from the beginning”.

End to Captivity

Montserrat Serra (Palafrugell, Girona, 1971) and Blanca Thiebaut (Madrid, 1981) worked as logisticians in the construction of a hospital primary care and nutrition in Dadaab camp, one of the largest in the world serving nearly half a million displaced by conflict and famine from neighboring Somalia. Their abduction occurred on October 13, 2011, when they were apprehended at a hundred kilometers from the border with Somalia while travelling in a Doctors Without Borders vehicle that was attacked by a local armed group. The captors shot at the convoy and after 40 minutes of gunfire, in which a Kenyan driver was injured, they fled with the two women in another car in the direction of Somalia.

This is the longest kidnapping of Spanish citizens abroad. Overall, the aid workers had been held 21 months and five days. During this time, news of their situation had been scarce, largely because the discretion that was kept by the parties involved in the negotiation, led from the start by the international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders, which has established contacts in Somalia since 1991, where it has several projects. The family, just a month ago, received the last proof of life of workers, a photograph encuentraban confirmed that both were in good condition, according to sources familiar with the negotiations. Previously, in March 2012, the Minister García-Margallo from Algeria confirmed he had received confirmation that the workers were fine and that efforts continued for their release.


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