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Crimes Against Tourists

Kidnappers killed, tourists being held in Chad

Unal Basusta, eTN Ambassador  Sep 29, 2008

Sudanese officials have confirmed they have shot and killed the bandits who kidnapped 19 tourists and Egyptians in the Egypt’s southern desert ten days ago.

"Sudanese forces followed the tracks of the kidnappers ... and found them on the Chad border," Sudan's presidential advisor Mahjoub Fadl Badri told reporters Sunday. "Sudanese forces killed six, including the commander of a Darfur rebel group, and arrested two.”

"Security organs on Saturday detected the return of the kidnappers... with their hostages into the Sudanese borders," Ali Yousuf, director of protocol at Sudan’s foreign ministry, told news agency SUNA.

According to the captured kidnappers, the hostages are still in Chad, as they put them in a hideout and are still negotiating about them, according to Badri. The Sudan’s presidential advisor, however, added that they have no details whether the Chadian army has moved in.

A Sudanese soldier was also injured in the clash, Egypt's official MENA news agency quoted the Sudanese army as saying, adding that the hostages were now being held at a place called Tabbat Shajara, just inside Chad. However, he added that the group now appears to be moving from Sudan towards "the Egyptian borders.”

Mahgoub Hussein, a London-based spokesman for a key faction of the Darfur rebel Sudan Liberation Army (SLA), told Al Jazzeera News: "We completely deny any report that we are involved in this kidnap.

"The movement, or any individual member, have no connection with the kidnappers, and in fact we condemn the action."

He offered a warning to those seeking the safe release of the group.

"Knowing the region and the behaviour of men like the kidnappers, we urge all parties to exercise restraint and enter in direct dialogue.

"Any attempt by force may affect directly the hostages."

The hostages are 11 tourists - five Italians, five Germans, and one Romanian - plus eight Egyptians including two guides, four drivers, a guard and the organizer of the tour group.

An Egyptian security official told AFP that the kidnappers and German negotiators had agreed to a deal but that "negotiations were still ongoing to work out details".

The kidnappers have demanded that Germany take charge of payment of a six-million-euro ($8.8 million) ransom, an Egyptian security official told AFP on Thursday.

They also want the ransom to be handed over to the German wife of the tour organizer.

Kidnappings of foreigners are extremely rare in Egypt, although in 2001 an armed Egyptian held four German tourists hostage for three days in Luxor, demanding that his estranged wife bring his two sons back from Germany. He freed the hostages unharmed.

Source: wires

Kidnappers killed, tourists being held in Chad
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