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British hostage freed in Somalia, Foreign Office says

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2012-03-21

Britain's Foreign Office confirmed Wednesday that Judith Tebbutt, a British national held hostage in Somalia since September, has been released. Tebbutt's husband David was killed when the couple was attacked near the Kenyan-Somali border.

AFP - British hostage Judith Tebbutt, released Wednesday six months after her Somali abductors killed her husband, said in a TV interview that her son had secured her freedom.

"I am just happy to be released and I'm looking forward to seeing my son who successfully secured my release. I don't know how he did it, but he did. Which is great," the 57-year-old told Britain's ITV News.

It was not immediately clear if a ransom had been paid, but local Somali elder Mohamud Ibrahim said negotiations had been ongoing since her capture, and that "expenses incurred during the captivity were very high".

"Seven months is a long time and... the circumstances, with my husband passing away, made it harder," said Tebbutt, whose husband David was killed in the September 11 attack on the Kenyan beach resort where they were staying.

In a separate interview with ITV News filmed in the days before her release and broadcast for the first time on Wednesday, Tebbutt said she was in good health and had not been mistreated by her captors.

"I sleep very well here," said the Briton, who Somali elders said Wednesday was being flown to Nairobi, capital of neighbouring Kenya.

Looking thin but upbeat, she said she had been ill three times during her captivity, but had received medication "almost immediately" each time and recovered.

"My condition is good as far as I know," she said. "I feel fine. I've had absolutely no torture whatsoever. In fact, I've been made to feel as comfortable as possible by the pirates that are holding me."

Date created : 2012-03-21

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