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Kidnapped German aid worker freed in Somalia

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

BERLIN (Reuters) - A German aid worker kidnapped in northwestern Somalia has been freed, his employer said on Wednesday.

"He's free and well," a spokeswoman for the German AgroAction (GAA), also known as Deutsche Welthungerhilfe, said,adding the man had contacted several colleagues in Somalia.

A spokesman for the German Foreign Ministry said theministry had not yet had contact with the man.

The aid worker was kidnapped after gunmen ambushed his caron Tuesday in Era Gabo, a town in the breakaway republic ofSomaliland.

The attack occurred in Sanag region, a disputed area thatSomaliland and neighbouring semi-autonomous Puntland have longfought over.

Although Somaliland and Puntland have enjoyed relativepeace compared to southern Somalia where the interim governmentis fighting an Islamist insurgency, the north has increasinglybecome associated with kidnappings for ransom.

Somaliland broke away in 1991 when warlords toppledmilitary dictator Mohamed Siad Barre plunging the Horn ofAfrica country into anarchy. It has governed itself since, butits claim of independence has not been internationallyrecognised.

(Reporting by Thorsten Severin; Writing by KerstinGehmlich; Editing by Ibon Villelabeitia)

Source: Reuters, Feb 13, 2008