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Italy: Freed aid worker Rossella Urru quizzed by prosecutors

last update: July 20, 13:47

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Rome, 20 July (AKI) - Rome prosecutors on Friday questioned freed Italian aid worker Rossella Urru for several hours about her nine-month kidnap ordeal at the hands of an al-Qaeda linked Islamist rebel group in Mali.

Urru said she never felt her life was in danger and her abductors from the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa cell (MUJAO) never pointed weapons her, according to sources close to the Rome public prosecutor's office, which has opened a probe into the kidnapping.

The kidnappers frequently moved Urru and two Spanish co-workers abducted with her from one location to another and she had no idea where they were, the sources said.

She was not always held with her Spanish colleagues Ainhoa Fernandez Rincon and Enrico Gonyans, who were also freed by the group on Wednesday, according to the sources.

The hostages were freed on Wednesday near the city of Gao in northern Mali, according to a spokesman for Ansar Dine, a radical Islamist group allied with MUJAO which now controls northern Mali, including Gao.

Urru arrived back in Italy on Thursday where she received a hero's welcome at Rome's Ciampino airport.

MUJAO gunmen aboard a jeep seized the three aid workers on 23 October last year from a refugee camp in Tidouf, southwestern Algeria.

After snatching Urru and her two colleagues in Tindouf, the MUJAO is believed to have moved them across the porous desert border separating Algeria from Mali.

The country's lawless north has become a base for Al-Qaida's North African branch since it and Ansar Dine drove out Tuareg rebels who had seized northern Mali in late March.

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