OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso (AP) -- An Italian tourist who spent more than a year in captivity after she was abducted by an al-Qaida-linked group in North Africa is heading home.
An Associated Press reporter saw Maria Sandra Mariani board a plane Tuesday night in the West African nation of Burkina Faso, where she had been brought after her release.
Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi confirmed her release earlier, but gave no details about how she was freed or whether a ransom was paid.
Mariani was kidnapped in February 2011 in Algeria's remote southern desert while on a visit organized by a travel agency.
Two weeks later, an al-Qaida spokesman claimed responsibility for the abduction in a broadcast on Arab satellite channel Al-Arabiya during which Mariani also spoke.