Aid workers freed by Al-Qaeda return to Spain

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Two aid workers freed by Al-Qaeda's North African branch returned home to Spain on Tuesday, ending a gruelling nine-month hostage ordeal in the Sahara desert.

Albert Vilalta, 35, and Roque Pascual, 50, arrived at Barcelona's El Prat airport at around 1:20am (2320 GMT Monday) on a Spanish military plane from Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso, an AFP journalist at the airport said.

The pair had been flown to Ouagadougou from Mali following their release by Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).

© 2010 AFP

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