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Last Updated: Saturday, 19 May 2007, 17:22 GMT 18:22 UK
Three Swedes freed from Ethiopia
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Three Swedish men have been released by Ethiopia after being detained for five months on suspicion of helping Islamist militants in Somalia.

A spokeswoman for Sweden's foreign ministry said the three men, who were originally arrested in Somalia, were now back in Sweden.

Spokeswoman Nina Ersman said the three had not been charged with any offence.

Ethiopia has said it detained a number of people after its army helped drive Islamists out of Somalia's capital.

Two of the men are Swedish nationals and one has permanent residency status in Sweden. Their names have not been released.

Sweden's foreign ministry had been demanding the release of the detainees for several weeks.

"I would like to express my gratitude to all foreign ministry officials who made this possible," Sweden's Foreign Minister Carl Bildt said in a statement.

Ethiopian troops leave Mogadishu, Somalia - 21/03/2007
Ethiopian troops helped drive Islamist militants out of Mogadishu
A lawyer for the three men said there had been no notification from Ethiopia that they would be released.

Ethiopia's government said in April that it had detained 41 people from 17 countries after its army helped Somalia's transitional government drive militias allied to the Union of Islamic Courts out of Mogadishu at the end of last year.

Some detainees were deported from Kenya, where many Somalis fled the fighting in Mogadishu.

Ethiopia has defended the detentions as part of its efforts to combat international terrorism in the Horn of Africa.

Human rights groups say US agents have been allowed to interrogate the detainees as part of the hunt for al-Qaeda suspects in the region.


SEE ALSO
Kenya attacks suspect sent to US
26 Mar 07 |  Americas
Who's who in al-Qaeda
04 Dec 06 |  Special Reports
Country profile: Ethiopia
02 Mar 07 |  Country profiles
Country profile: Somalia
06 Mar 07 |  Country profiles

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