Monday, September 29, 2008

Gilf Kebir hostages freed

BBC News

A group of Western tourists and their Egyptian guides, who were kidnapped 10 days ago, have been freed.

The 11 hostages - five Italians, five Germans and a Romanian - and their guides are said to be in good health.

The group, abducted by gunmen in a remote border region of Egypt, are now said to be en route to Cairo.

During their captivity, they were moved around a lawless desert area straddling Egypt, Sudan, Libya and Chad.

The freeing of the Westerners was reported on Egyptian state television and confirmed by the Italian foreign ministry

No details were given on the circumstances of their release.

The kidnappers had demanded that Germany take charge of payment of an $8.8m (£4.9m) ransom. It is unclear if any payment was exchanged.

The breakthrough comes a day after Sudanese troops clashed with alleged kidnappers in northern Sudan, killing six gunmen. Another two were taken into custody.

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