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UPDATED: 12:14, May 04, 2007
Sweden sharpens tone against Ethiopia over captives
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The Swedish government has demanded the immediate release of three Swedes who have been held captive in Ethiopia since the beginning of the year, local media reported on Thursday.

On Wednesday the Ethiopian ambassador was summoned to the Foreign Ministry in Stockholm. Cabinet secretary Frank Belfrage handed over a formal protest.

"He expressed Sweden's dissatisfaction with the fact that three Swedes are being held in captivity for no valid reason. The message was that Sweden is calling for them to be freed immediately," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Nina Ersman told Swedish news agency TT.

The three Swedes were taken prisoner at the beginning of the year. A fourth prisoner, a pregnant 17-year-old, was released in March, according to TT.

The group were arrested in Kenya, having fled Somalia after the invasion by Ethiopian troops which brought about an Islamist retreat. Around 60 others were also arrested and sent to Ethiopia via Somalia.

The prisoners were accused of fighting on the side of the Islamist militia against Somali government forces and their Ethiopian allies, TT reported.

Source: Xinhua

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