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Somali kidnappers release two journalists unharmed

Spanish freelance photographer Jose Cendon, left, and British reporter Colin Freeman of London’s Sunday Telegraph were kidnapped Nov. 26 while working on a story about piracy.

Associated Press

Spanish freelance photographer Jose Cendon, left, and British reporter Colin Freeman of London’s Sunday Telegraph were kidnapped Nov. 26 while working on a story about piracy.

MOGADISHU, Somalia — Two foreign journalists — a Briton and a Spaniard — were released in good health Sunday after nearly six weeks in captivity in Somalia, officials said.

The journalists, reporter Colin Freeman, 39, of the Sunday Telegraph and freelance photographer Jose Cendon, 34, were working on a piracy story when they were kidnapped Nov. 26.

The Sunday Telegraph publisher confirmed the two journalists had been freed.

Telegraph Media Group would not say whether a ransom had been paid.

In a story published on its Web site, the newspaper quoted Freeman as saying the pair "are absolutely fine. ... We've absolutely no problems at all either physically or mentally."

"We survived on rice, goat meat and Rothmans," Freeman said. "I gave up smoking in 1992 and somehow decided now would be a good time to start up again."

Foreigners, journalists and humanitarian workers are frequently abducted for ransoms in the Horn of Africa nation.

The Spanish Foreign Ministry told the Associated Press that Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos spoke by phone with Cendon and confirmed to the photographer's family that he was released and is in good health. The British Foreign Office welcomed the release.

Two freelance journalists, an Australian and a Canadian, kidnapped in August near the Somali capital, Mogadishu, are still being held.

Also Sunday, a French navy vessel thwarted two attacks by heavily armed Somali pirates in the dangerous Gulf of Aden.

French officials say the Jean de Vienne intercepted and captured the 19 pirates Sunday as they tried to take over two cargo ships — one Croatian and the other Panamanian.

Somali kidnappers release two journalists unharmed 01/04/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 3, 2010 9:15am]
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