One Italian and two Spanish aid workers held hostage in Mali have now returned to Europe after being freed from kidnappers linked to al Qaeda.
Italian Rossella Urru, who was welcomed at Rome Airport by Prime Minister Mario Monti, said her detention would not stop her from returning to do more relief work.
Spaniards Enric Gonyalons and Ainhoa Fernandez flew to Spain on separate flights. A negotiator reportedly revealed that two Islamists in jail in Mauritania had been released as part of the deal with the al Qaeda splinter group which held the trio captive.
According to some reports, the group says it received 15m euros for their release but it remains unclear whether any ransom was paid. The three hostages were seized from a refugee camp in Algeria last October.