Talks to free French journalist held in Puntland gather pace

20th December 2007, Comments 0 comments

Negotiations to free a French journalist gather momentum

   MOGADISHU, December 19, 2007 - Negotiations to free a French journalist
abducted in Somalia's breakaway Puntland region gathered momentum Wednesday, a local official told AFP.
   "The local authorities received a (French) diplomat today here in Bosasso
and he asked them to accelerate their efforts to release the kidnapped
journalist," Bile Ali Qabowsade, local authority official in Bosasso, told AFP
by phone.
   Qabowsade said the militiamen, who abducted cameraman Gwen Le Gouil on
Sunday, had agreed to free him soon.
   Another elder involved in the talks, Osman Yusuf, also told AFP that a deal
had been reached to secure Le Gouil's quick release.
   Le Gouil was in Bosasso to shoot a documentary on the mass smuggling of
refugees from Somalia and other war-torn Horn of Africa countries across the
Gulf of Aden to Yemen.
   Hundreds of migrants die each year attempting the crossing, either because
their rickety boats capsize or from exhaustion, disease or mistreatment by the

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