American hostages released in Egypt
Published Monday, July 16, 2012
Egyptian Bedouin tribesmen on Monday released two US tourists who had been held since Friday in the Sinai Peninsula, a senior security official said.
"The two have been released after successful negotiations with the Bedouins and they are now in the North Sinai security headquarters," the official said.
Boston-area residents Pentecostal Reverend Michel Louis, 61, and 39-year-old Lissa Alphonse were taken off a bus on Friday with their Egyptian tour guide on a road in the Sinai Peninsula.
The lead kidnapper, Jimmy Abu-Masuh, was demanding the release of his uncle who is being held on drugs charges.
He had told The Associated Press by telephone that the hostages were being fed, offered tea and coffee and sleeping in his home.
The two Americans were on a tour frequently targeted by Bedouins who abduct foreigners to pressure police to meet their demands, usually the release of detainees they say have been unjustly arrested.
In previous cases, tourists have not been physically harmed.
The Arab Bedouins of the sparsely populated Sinai peninsula have long-running tensions with the government in Cairo, and with the security forces in particular. They complain of state discrimination in the development of their region.
Bedouin and Egyptian rights groups say the security forces are responsible for many abuses in the peninsula.
Police hunting fugitives have staged mass arrests to pressure families to hand over their relatives. They frequently enter homes by force and detain women – particularly provocative acts in conservative Bedouin society.
(AP, AFP, Al-Akhbar)