Thursday, September 25, 2008

Egyptian hostages moved to Libya

They're being held by "gangsters" not terrorists or anything like that.

A group of 11 European tourists and eight Egyptian guides kidnapped in Egypt's desert have been moved to Libya, a Sudanese official has said.

The group had previously been taken from Egypt to Sudan. Sudanese foreign ministry official Ali Yusuf Ahmed said the hostages were safe.

Egyptian officials say the kidnappers are gangsters who are demanding several million dollars in ransom money. They are not thought to have made any political demands as yet.

Mr Ahmed said the hostages were being held some 13 km (eight miles) inside Libyan territory.

"The Libyan authorities have been informed," he said. "They are now following the progress of the group."

Mr Ahmed said the language of the kidnappers and the direction they were originally taking indicated that they could be part of a rebel faction from the Sudanese region of Darfur.

Roads into Darfur have been shut as a precautionary measure, he said.

I'm sure this wasn't the sightseeing adventure they had in mind...and it looks likes there are some senior citizens in the crowd.

Elderly travellers in their 70s are among the five Italians, five Germans and a Romanian being held in the desert, where daytime temperatures can hit 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) even in September.

And if you need any more proof positive that fools abound in this world...

Ahmed Mukhtar, the governor of Wadi el-Gedid province where the tourists were taken, said the kidnapping had not discouraged tourism there and that five groups of European tourists were currently on safari in the area, the state-run MENA news agency reported.

But a manager at Minamar Hotel, which organizes excursions to Gilf el-Kabir, told AFP the hotel had cancelled trips to the region after the kidnapping.

Wouldn't you?