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India: Italian released by Maoist rebels

last update: April 12, 12:35

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New Delhi, 12 April (AKI) - Maoist rebels in India on Thursday released an Italian guide they kidnapped exactly four weeks ago along with an Italian tourist.

"I'm fine. I survived,'' Paolo Bosusco said after his release. "It was 28 days of paid vacation. I'm used to the jungle so it wasn't so bad."

Basusco and Claudio Colangelo were abducted on 14 March while trekking in the eastern Orissa state. Colangelo was freed 11 days later.

Basusco said he was treated well and holds no grudges against the rebels.

"The Maoists tried to give me what they could but the conditions in the jungle are such that you can't eat. Above all, I contracted malaria twice," he said.

Basusco runs a trekking company for adventure tourists. He's lived in India for more than 12 years.

Orissa-state authorities last week said they would release 27 prisoners in exchange for the Basusco and a local legislator. The politician, Jhina Hikaka, is still being held.

The rebels in several Indian states say they have been fighting for better rights for the poor. Around 2,000 people have died in the insurgency that began in 1967.

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