Six Red Cross workers abducted two weeks ago by gunmen in southeastern Ethiopia were released Friday and are in good health.
"For two weeks we didn't know if they were even alive. Then, two days ago, we got the first radio contact and now, today, they were released," said Nina Galbe, spokeswoman for the International Red Cross.The six aid workers - one Swiss and five Ethiopians - were picked up by colleagues in an unspecified location and were to arrive by vehicle later Friday at the ICRC office in the southeastern Ethiopian town of Gode, Galbe said.
Galbe identified the Swiss man as Laurent Giger, 30, from Neufchatel. He has worked for the Red Cross for seven years in Somalia, Sudan, Afghanastan and Ethiopia.
The families of the five Ethiopians asked that their identities not be revealed, Galbe said.
Galbe said she would not identify the kidnappers until the six aid workers were debriefed.
But Al-Itihad Al-Islam, an armed Muslim group fighting for the unification of the southeastern Ethiopian Ogaden region with Somalia, has claimed responsibility. Friday, the group announced it released the hostages after two weeks of "investigation."
Ibrahim Sheikh Omar, a spokesman for the group in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, said the six "were found guilty of conducting business outside their duties."