Egypt: Kidnapped tourists reported to be in Sudan

Cairo, 24 Sept. (AKI) - The 19 people who have been kidnapped in Egypt are reported to have been taken to a secret location 25 kilometres across the border in Sudan, according to a Cairo media report.

The Cairo daily, al-Hayat, reported that the group - which includes five Italians, five Germans and a Romanian - have been taken across the border.

But there are mixed reports about the nationality of the kidnappers. Security sources told al-Hayat that the kidnappers originated from the tiny north African nation of Djibouti.

But the daily, al-Sharq al-Awsat, cites Sudanese authorities who say that the kidnappers are Egyptian, while others have said the group is made up of one Chadian and three Sudanese.

Egyptian officials are believed to be continuing negotiations in a bid to secure the release of the group abducted near the southern city of Aswan on Friday.

Apart from the 11 Europeans, eight Egyptians were kidnapped with the group during a safari tour in the remote region. The kidnappers are believed to be seeking a hefty ransom.

Diplomatic officials from Italy and Germany are also closely involved in efforts to free the hostages.

The Italian Foreign Affairs Minister, Franco Frattini, called on the media to exercise restraint to enable the authorities to continue their efforts to free the hostages.

"I believe that it's important for the media to keep quiet, in an effort to stop the spread of information that could damage the work of the authorities," Frattini said on a visit to New York.


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