Two Spanish aid workers held hostage by al Qaeda’s north African branch since November are believed to have been released.
Albert Vilalta and Roque Pascual are thought to have been set free in return for nearly five million euros.
The two were captured while travelling on an aid convoy through Mauritania. While media sources state the two have been released, so far the Spanish government has refused to confirm the reports.
There is also speculation that their freedom is linked to Mauritania’s repatriation to Mali of a militant who had been convicted of their kidnapping in the first place.
The pair were among three Barcelona Accio Solidari workers taken and handed over to al Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb in return for payment last year.
The third hostage, Alicia Gamez was freed in March.
The Islamists have justified targeting Spanish and other European nationals because of their close ties to the US and NATO membership.