2 Abducted Italian Nuns Freed in Somalia

Two Italian nuns kidnapped in November have been freed in Somalia, the Italian Foreign Ministry said Thursday.

The nuns — Maria Teresa Olivero, 60, and Caterina Giraudo, 67 — were working on hunger and health programs in the northeastern town of El Wak, Kenya, when gunmen dragged them into Somalia in a rare cross-border kidnapping on Nov. 10, 2008.

The early morning abduction began when six gunmen firing automatic weapons hurled a hand grenade and fired a rocket at Kenyan police, a local aid worker said after the abduction. The gunmen then seized the nuns and drove them to the border in three stolen vehicles.

The ministry did not immediately give details of their release.

The nuns had been working in Kenya for decades and were among the few non-Muslims in town, the Catholic Information Service said. They ran a small dispensary and offered medical care to malnourished children.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.