( Reuters ) - Two French aid workers who were abducted in Afghanistan on July 18 have been released and are in good health, French authorities said on Saturday.
The two men, who worked for French NGO Action Contre la Faim (Action Against Hunger), were kidnapped in the town of Nili in central Afghanistan after gunmen tied up guards and broke into the guest house where they were sleeping, their NGO had said.
"The president rejoices and expresses his relief after the announcement of the release of our two compatriots..." said a statement from the office of President Nicolas Sarkozy.
The presidency and the foreign ministry both thanked Afghan authorities and President Hamid Karzai for their role in securing the release of the hostages.
The Afghan government had said the two were being held by Sedaqat, a former armed faction commander. Sedaqat told a Western radio station he had kidnapped them because of differences with authorities in central Dai Kundi province, who he said had sidelined him from power.
Action Contre la Faim suspended its operations in Afghanistan after the abduction. It set up its first mission there in 1979 and has conducted a series of operations since 1995.
A French businessman was abducted in Afghanistan in May and released in June after weeks of behind-the-scenes negotiations.