Egypt Frees 19 Tourists, Kills Kidnappers

European safari-goers released after gun battle, no ransom paid
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 29, 2008 8:38 AM CDT
Undated file picture showing Egypt's south western desert, where a group of 11 European tourists and four Egyptians were kidnapped during an adventure safari in the Sahara desert.   (AP Photo/Saedi Press, File)
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(Newser) – The European tour group kidnapped in Egypt more than a week ago has been freed, according to official reports, after a gun battle between Sudanese troops and the kidnappers. Sudanese officials said yesterday that they’d killed the leader of the kidnappers and five other bandits in a shootout. Though the hostages were being held elsewhere, the kidnappers suddenly agreed to release them.

The kidnappers were demanding a 6-million-Euro ransom for the group, which includes 11 European tourists and their eight Egyptian guides. A deal was in place to pay that ransom, but after the battle the kidnappers agreed to release the prisoners gratis, an Egyptian security official said. “The problem was solved. They had agreed to the ransom. It was merely a matter of receiving the hostages, but then this surprise happened.”