Two Spanish aid workers kidnapped last October from a Saharawi refugee camp in Algeria and released this week in Mali arrived here Thursday.

Waiting for Ainhoa Fernandez de Rincon and Enric Gonyalons at Madrid's Torrejon de Ardoz airbase were their families and Spain's deputy prime minister, Soraya Saenz de Santamaria.

The former captives traveled aboard a Spanish air force plane.

Fernandez de Rincon, Gonyalons and Italian national Rosella Urru were abducted Oct. 23 from a facility near the Algerian town of Tindouf where foreign aid workers are lodged.

The abductions were carried out by a branch of Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and the captives were taken to northern Mali, an area now effectively under the control of Tuareg separatists.

A spokesman for the radical Islamic group Ansar al Din, Sanda Uld, told Efe on Wednesday that Fernandez, Gonyalons and Urru were freed without conditions.

The captives were turned over to mediators from Burkina Faso.

Efforts to secure the release of the hostages became more complicated after March's military coup in Mali, according to Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo, who said authorities had been "very close" to a solution before the change of government. EFE