Kidnappers of German woman arrested

20th August 2007, Comments 0 comments

20 August 2007, Kabul (dpa) - Afghan police have arrested four of the suspected kidnappers of the German woman Christina M, freed overnight, according to the Interior Ministry in Kabul.

20 August 2007

Kabul (dpa) - Afghan police have arrested four of the suspected kidnappers of the German woman Christina M, freed overnight, according to the Interior Ministry in Kabul.

The four suspects, including the mastermind behind the abduction, were captured during the sting operation to free the hostage, according to interior ministry spokesman, Semarai Bashary.

Bashary told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa that Christina M was freed in a joint operation by the ministry and the Afghan secret service that involved 300 troops.

After the abduction, Kabul police cordoned off the district where the woman was snatched and had the hiding place of the kidnappers surrounded Sunday night.

"The kidnappers did not have a chance to escape," said Bashary. The abductors are believed to be a criminal gang and not affiliated with the radical-Islamic Taliban. They had demanded the release of "innocent prisoners" in a videotape broadcast early Sunday by the private Tolo news channel. Later it was revealed they had also demanded a ransom of 1 million dollars.

The 31-year-old woman was abducted Saturday by four armed men as she was leaving a restaurant in western Kabul in the presence of her husband.

A spokeswoman for the German Foreign Ministry in Berlin confirmed the report of her release.

"She is in the safe custody of the German embassy in Kabul," said the spokeswoman.

Meanwhile, Bashary said police had a breakthrough in the murder of two German journalists last year with a suspect in custody for another crime.

The two Deutsche Welle reporters were shot in October while they were camping in Baghlan province in northern Afghanistan.

Afghanistan has seen a rash of kidnappings of foreigners since the abduction of an Italian journalist in March led to the release of five Taliban prisoners.

A German man was kidnapped on July 18 in the central province of Maidan Wardak. Negotiations continue for the release of the engineer and 19 South Korean Christian aid workers who were abducted in July. Two ill hostages were killed earlier by the Taliban, and two South Korean women were released last week.

Christina M is a staffer for Ora International, a Christian aid organization that has operated in Afghanistan since 1991.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier in Berlin extended gratitude to the Afghan authorities with whom his government had worked "closely, faithfully and successfully" to safely gain the German woman's freedom.

Steinmeier emphasized that the German Foreign Ministry is continuing to seek the release of the German construction engineer abducted last month, identified as Rudolf B.

The 62-year-old hostage was able to speak by telephone Sunday with a reporter in Kabul from German broadcaster ARD, reporting that his health was deteriorating. The abductee asked why a ransom had not been paid for his quick release and called for the German embassy in Kabul to act more strongly to gain his freedom.

The circumstanced under which Rudolf B was able to make the telephone call were not known.


Subject: German news

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