Al Qaeda blamed for abduction of Spanish aid workers in Algeria

Italian also taken from Western Sahara refugee camp by unidentified armed kidnappers

The Polisario, the ruling party organization of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, has accused Al Qaeda of the Saturday night abduction of three aid workers in the Rabouni refugee camp, near the city of Tindouf in Algeria. Two of the abducted are Spanish - Ainhoa Fernández de Rincón from Madrid, and Enric Gonyalons Sureda from Mallorca. Both were working at the Western Saharan refugee camp for Spanish NGOs. The third aid worker is Italian.

The 36-year-old Gonyalons was reportedly wounded by a gun shot while resisting the attack, which was carried out by ten armed men in military gear. They arrived in two all-terrain vehicles and seemed to know the layout of the camp well, according to eye witness accounts.

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Brahim Ghali, representative for the Polisario in Algiers, said he "directly accused the Al Qaeda Organization in the Islamic Maghreb of being behind the abduction of these three foreigners," according to AFP news agency.

The group, which has been classed as a terrorist organization by both the US Department of State and the European Union, has been leading an insurgency campaign against the Algerian government, and has previously kidnapped Westerners, including Spaniards and Italians.

No one has yet claimed responsibility for the kidnapping, but AQIM has been active in the Sahel and Sahara regions in recent times. In February AQIM abducted an Italian woman in Algeria. Three Catalan aid workers were finally released by the terrorist group in 2010.

Meanwhile, little is known about the whereabouts of two Spanish workers for Doctors Without Borders, seized in Kenya near the Somalian border 10 days ago.

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