French hostage escapes captors in Somalia (Roundup)
Aug 26, 2009, 13:16 GMT
Paris/Nairobi - A French intelligence agent held in Somalia since July has escaped his Islamist captors, but another agent remains in captivity, the French government confirmed Wednesday.
'The agent held by Hizbul Islam was able to flee his captors,' the French Foreign Ministry said. 'Contrary to other reports this happened without violence, and France did not pay a ransom.'
The second agent, who was separated from his colleague shortly after their capture on July 14 at the Hotel Sahafi in Mogadishu, were sent to Somalia as military advisors to the fragile national government.
The man escaped his Islamist captors late Tuesday and reached the home of Somalian President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, sources in the pro-Western government said.
The escapee reportedly fled with a foreign journalist who had also been imprisoned.
The two French advisors arrived in Somalia posing as journalists. They were initially kidnapped by the Hizbul Islam militia.
The French Foreign Ministry said it was unable to confirm that the second captive had been handed over to the Al Shabab militia, which had announced plans to try the two on charges of espionage.