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Page last updated at 13:47 GMT, Sunday, 12 July 2009 14:47 UK

Al-Qaeda releases Swiss hostage

Werner Greiner (l) and unidentified woman in image released by group on 18 February 2009
Mr Greiner had been attending a music festival when he was seized

A Swiss man held hostage for six months by members of al-Qaeda in Mali has been freed, Swiss and Malian officials say.

Werner Greiner - seized in Niger - is the last of six Western hostages held by a group calling itself al-Qaeda in the Islamic Magreb.

In May, the group announced on a website that it had killed British hostage Edwin Dyer.

The group had been demanding the release of radical Muslim cleric Abu Qatada from a UK prison.

"The Swiss Foreign Ministry learnt with joy that the efforts towards the liberation of the last Swiss hostage in Mali have been successful," the ministry said in a statement.

The ministry statement said the man - whom they did not name - was receiving medical treatment in Mali, adding he would shortly be flown back to Switzerland to rest.

It was not immediately clear if a ransom had been paid to secure Mr Greiner's release, which was also confirmed by a spokesman for the president of Mali.

Mr Greiner and his wife were seized, along with two other tourists, near the Mali border on 22 January.

His wife, Gabriella Barco Greiner, was released by the hostage-takers in April.



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