Kidnapped bomb disposal experts freed

2013-05-28 12:58

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Cassalol - Three women who were among 12 bomb disposal experts kidnapped three weeks ago by separatist rebels in Senegal were released on Monday in neighbouring Guinea-Bissau.

The women were handed over to Bissau-Guinean authorities in Cassalol, a village near the border shared by the west African nations, according to a journalist from AFP who was at the scene.

"For humanitarian reasons and to demonstrate the willingness of the movement, we took the decision to release the three women," said Cesar Atoute Badiate, head of the Senegalese rebel group which had kidnapped the women.

Asked about the possible release of the nine remaining experts, Badiate replied: "I don't know. It's out of the question for the time being."

The women, all in tears, made no statement as they were handed to military officials and representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross and Mom Ku Mom, an organisation involved in conflict mediation in Guinea-Bissau.

The 12 experts were abducted on May 3 by the Casamance Movement of Democratic Forces, which has been fighting for independence of southern Senegal for some three decades.

The fighting has claimed thousands of lives and displaced thousands more, but no precise toll is available.

Hundreds of the casualties have been caused by anti-personnel and anti-tank mines.


Read more on:    guinea bissau  |  west africa

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