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Algerian Officials Confirm Kidnapping of European Tourists

Algerian officials have confirmed that a group of European tourists has been kidnapped and that negotiations are underway to secure their release.

Algerian officials are attempting to negotiate the release of 31 European tourists being held hostage in the Sahara Desert.

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

Algerian government officials say the tourists were kidnapped but decline to say by whom or what the abductors are demanding.

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

Mohammed Geurrout, the president of an Algerian parliamentary commission on tourism, was quoted [by Algerian radio] as saying the tourists are alive and negotiations are taking place to win their release.

Algerian government officials say more details will be released Tuesday.