Doctor back home after Somalia ordeal

Compiled From Kyodo, AP

Aid group worker Dr. Keiko Akahane returned Tuesday to Japan following her release from three months in captivity in Somalia.

Akahane, 32, arrived at Chubu International Airport in Aichi Prefecture with her mother, Chieko, 64, and older brother, Chihiro, 34.

Akahane appeared in good health and had a big smile when she was greeted by the staff of her aid agency, Doctors of the World, but she occasionally appeared tense before the media.

“I have finally returned to Japan for the first time in nine months, and I am relieved, as it has finally come to an end,” she said.

After resting at Chubu airport, Akahane and her relatives headed for Nagasaki to report her return to Nagasaki University, where she is enrolled, according to airport officials.

Akahane and Dutch nurse Wilhem Sools, 27, both workers for the medical aid group, were abducted by an armed group Sept. 22 in the Ogaden region of eastern Ethiopia, about 80 km from the Somali border.

Their kidnappers took them into Somalia and moved them around to different locations within the country, according to the aid group.

They were released Jan. 7 in Somalia and first went to Nairobi and then to Paris, where the aid group is headquartered.

During a news conference Saturday in Paris, the two aid workers said they feared death daily, while the agency they work for said no ransom was paid for their release.

“Every day I was afraid we might get killed,” Akahane said.