Algeria arrests two over kidnap of aid workers: report

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Algerian security services have arrested two suspects over the kidnapping of three European aid workers last month, a newspaper reported Tuesday.

El Khabar, citing anonymous security sources, said the two had been arrested on suspicion of helping the militants behind the October 23 kidnaps, which have been blamed on Al-Qaeda linked Islamists.

The three aid workers, a man and woman from Spain and an Italian woman, were snatched near Tindouf, a stronghold of the Polisario Front, a Western Sahara rebel group fighting for independence from Morocco.

A mediator had previously told AFP that Al-Qaeda's north Africa branch, Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), was responsible for the abductions.

Spain has identified its hostages as Ainhoa Fernandez de Rincon and Enric Gonyalons, who was believed to be wounded during the kidnapping. Italian officials identified the third victim as Rossella Urru, who works for the Italian Committee for the Development of Peoples.

AQIM, which has its roots in Algeria, has camps in Mali which it uses as a launchpad to carry out armed attacks and kidnappings in the Sahel desert region, where the group is also involved in arms and drugs trafficking.

© 2011 AFP

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