German woman freed in Mali after three-month hostage ordeal

German woman freed in Mali after three-month hostage ordeal Berlin  - An elderly German woman who was taken hostage by Islamists three months ago in Mali was released Wednesday evening, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said in Berlin.

The 77-year-old retired teacher was one of four western tourists abducted on January 22 during a cross-country adventure tour in four- wheel-drive vehicles in Niger and Mali.

Steinmeier said that the woman, who comes from Darmstadt, near Frankfurt, was in the care of Mali government officials and was exhausted by the kidnapping and the hardship of three months in captivity.

He thanked Mali President Amadou Toumani Toure, who had cooperated closely with Berlin to end the abduction.

A group that termed itself the North African branch of al-Qaeda claimed responsibility for the abduction of the four and demanded that jailed terrorists be freed in Europe.

It was not immediately clear what had become of the other three Western captives, a married couple from Switzerland and a British man. (dpa)