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Kidnapped Tourists to be Released Soon, Reports Algerian Media - 2003-05-05


One day after the Algerian government confirmed that a group of European tourists had been kidnapped, the country's official radio station reported the captives would soon be set free.

Algeria's government-run radio reported that 31 European tourists, who are being held hostage in Algeria's southern Sahara desert by unidentified assailants, will soon be released.

The tourists, including 15 Germans, 10 Austrians, four Swiss, one Swede, and one Dutchman, were last seen heading into the desert in four-wheel drive vehicles and on motorcycles in mid-February.

While there were numerous reports of their disappearance, it was not until Sunday that the government officially acknowledged that they had been kidnapped and that negotiations were under way to secure their release.

Government officials declined to identify the kidnappers or disclose their demands.

About 5,000 Algerian troops and 300 local guides were brought in to search for the tourists.

Monday, Algerian government officials said the tourists are alive and that more information would be disclosed on Tuesday.

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