Nineteen tourists kidnapped in Egypt

September 22nd, 2008 - 9:03 pm ICT by IANS  

Cairo, Sep 22 (DPA) Nineteen tourists, including 11 foreign nationals, were kidnapped in Upper Egypt Monday and authorities were in touch with kidnappers for negotiating their release, media reports said.The latest reports said the 19 included five Germans, five Italians, and one Romanian national. The remaining were Egyptians. Initial reports had given a figure of 15 victims, including four Egyptians.

The kidnapped were on a safari trip when they were seized by four masked men.

In Berlin and Rome, the respective foreign ministries confirmed that their nationals were among the kidnap victims.

According to Italian official sources, the Italians abducted included three women and two men from city of Turin.

Meanwhile, Egyptian Tourism minister Zuheir Garana was quoted in media as saying that negotiations with the kidnappers were underway. He said a ransom demand had been made.

Garana, however, said negotiations with the kidnappers were being conducted via the tourism company which organised the safari trip for the group.

An official Egyptian government source confirmed that the kidnap victims had been taken to Sudan, the BBC reported.

According to the Egyptian Middle East News Agency (MENA), the kidnapped were travelling in four offroad vehicles in the Kark Talh area near the Sudanese-Egyptian border.

The eight Egyptians kidnapped included two tourism guides, four drivers, the owner of the organising tourist company and a police officer serving as a guard.

The official source also told BBC that talks with the Sudanese government were taking place to try to secure the release of the kidnap victims.

Initial reports had said that Israelis may also have been among the kidnap victims, but authorities later denied this.

In Israel, local radio said that no Israelis were among those kidnapped.

One week ago, Israel warned its citizens against travelling to Egypt and called on Israelis to return home amid specific warnings about the danger of kidnapping.

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