UN concerned over kidnapped Eritreans
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees on Tuesday said it was concerned about 250 Eritrean migrants believed to be being held hostage in the Sinai desert by people traffickers.
"We have noted media reports that the traffickers are demanding payments of 8,000 dollars per person for their release, that people are being held in containers and are subject to abuses," his office said.
UNHCR said it was in contact with the Egyptian government and that the Ministry of the Interior had "assured us that around the clock efforts are underway to locate the hostages and release them."
The Sinai desert border has become a major trafficking route for African migrants seeking jobs.
Thousands of Eritreans each year flee the country with many heading for Israel.
© 2010 AFP