Kidnapped Belgian tourists in Guatemala released

March 17th, 2008 - 5:26 am ICT by admin  

Guatemala City, March 17 (DPA) Four Belgian tourists who had been taken hostage in Guatemala have been released, officials said Sunday. A group of farmers and hired rural workers seized the tourists and three Guatemalans Friday to demand the release of one of their leaders who has been jailed for the illegal taking of land, a local radio broadcast reported.

The released tourists - two couples from Flanders ranging in age from 59 to 62 - were transported to the Belgian embassy in Costa Rica following a medical examination, said Sergio Morales, the Guatemalan state attorney for human rights.

They appeared to be in good health, he said.

The incident happened in the tourist region of Izabal in the north of the Central American country near the Mexican border.

The kidnappers were from the city Livingston, about 330 km north of Guatemala City, where 29 police officers were taken hostage Feb 29.

The farmers’ leader who is in jail, Ramiro Choc, was arrested for illegal land taking, robbery and wrongful deprivation of personal liberty.

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