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Britons Detained In Africa Given Flight Home
By Natalie Paris and agencies
London, Feb 13, 2007 – Four British men who had been detained on the Somalian border have been released after landing back in the UK and being briefly held under the Terrorism Act.
After their flight touched down at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire this morning, the four were held for nine hours by the Metropolitan Police before being freed.
The men, who are in their twenties and from London, were taken to a west London police station and held under a provision of the Terrorism Act 2000 before being formally released from detention.
They were never arrested.
They had just spent three weeks as detainees in Africa after being picked up by Kenyan authorities at the war-torn Somalian-Kenyan border on January 20.
Last month Ethiopia claimed that it had arrested British citizens in operations against Islamic fighters in Somalia, although the Foreign Office found little evidence to support this.
Somalia 's deputy prime minister also claimed some financial support for the Islamic militant movement in his country was coming from the UK.
While in Kenyan custody, the men were not allowed access to British consular staff.
The Foreign Office reached an agreement with the Kenyan and Somalian authorities to send them back to the UK after they were briefly deported to Somalia on Saturday.
Consular staff from Nairobi traveled to Baidoa in Somalia and ensured that the men were fit and healthy before accompanying them back to Kenya.
A Metropolitan Police spokeswoman said the men had been detained by the Kenyan authorities after crossing the border from Somalia.
She said: "At approximately 6.50am today four men were detained following their arrival at RAF Brize Norton.
"The men were detained under Schedule 7 Ports and Border Controls of the Terrorism Act 2000 in order for us to investigate the circumstances leading up to their detention by the Kenyan authorities.
"All four have been released."
A Foreign Office spokesman said the families of the four men were kept in touch with developments.