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Released journalist, Johnston, with BBC since 1991

  • Story Highlights
  • Alan Johnston is only Western journalist permanently stationed in Gaza
  • Freed correspondent previously worked in Uzbekistan, Afghanistan
  • He was born in Tanzania and educated in Scotland, where parents reside
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(CNN) -- Alan Johnston, released early Wednesday by his Islamic militant captors, is the only Western journalist permanently based in Gaza.

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BBC correspondent Alan Johnston was kidnapped March 12 and released early Wednesday morning.

He joined the BBC World Service in 1991 and has spent eight of the past 16 years as a correspondent, including periods in Uzbekistan and Afghanistan, the BBC said.

He is one of 15 journalists abducted in Gaza since 2004, according to the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists. All the others were released unharmed, usually within days of their abductions.

A large banner bearing his likeness and urging his release hangs from the front of BBC's headquarters in London.

On April 16, thousands of BBC journalists and other employees fell silent across Britain at 2:15 p.m. -- the exact time on March 12 when he was snatched at gunpoint as he returned to his Gaza City home from his office.

His parents, Graham and Margaret Johnston, who live in Scotland, released a statement in April saying it was a "desperately worrying time" for them.

"We make a heartfelt appeal to anyone who may have knowledge of Alan's situation and well being to contact the authorities in Gaza," they said at that time.

According to the BBC, Alan Johnston was born in Lindi, Tanzania, in 1962. He was educated at Dollar Academy in Scotland. He has a master's degree in English and politics from Scotland's Dundee University and a diploma in journalism studies from the University of Wales in Cardiff.

He joined the BBC as a sub-editor in the BBC World Service newsroom before becoming the BBC's correspondent in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, from 1993 to 1995. He was the BBC correspondent in Kabul, Afghanistan, from 1997 to 1998.

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After Kabul he returned to London to be a program editor of the daily news broadcast "The World Today" and then became a general reporter.

His three-year posting to Gaza, where he has worked for all BBC outlets in both radio and television, began in April 2004. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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