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Malian officials have confirmed that two Spanish hostages have been released by the North African wing of Al-Qaeda.
They refuse to comment on whether this is linked to the extradition of imprisoned militant fighters. No official confirmation has come from Spain.
The hostages, Albert Vilalta and Roque Pascual, were kidnapped last November, in a convoy for the Spanish NGO "Cara-VAna Soli-DA-ria". Another Spaniard, a woman, Alicia Gomez, was also abducted, but freed in March.
A report in El Pa-EES newspaper in March said Al-Qaeda sought a 5-million-US-dollar ransom and the release of imprisoned militant fighters for the release of the two men.