UN official urges immediate release of 7 Estonians kidnapped inLebanon

15:09, April 07, 2011      

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UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon Michael Williams on Wednesday appealed for the immediate release of seven Estonian travellers kidnapped earlier last month, the country's state-run National News Agency (NNA) reported.

Williams made the remarks after meeting with Lebanon's Prime Minister-designate Najib Mikati to discuss the recent developments of the event.

"It has now been two weeks since their disappearance. I welcome the diligent efforts of Lebanon's security forces and the Lebanese army to uncover their whereabouts and secure their release. I take this opportunity to once again appeal for their immediate release, " said Williams.

"No purpose is served by their continued detention, and I hope this can be resolved, and resolved soon," he said.

The seven Estonian nationals were abducted at gunpoint near the eastern Bekaa Valley town of Zahle on March 23 after entering Lebanon through the border with Syria on their bicycles.

A previously-unknown group, Haraket al-Nahda Wal Islah, Arabic for the Movement for Renewal and Reform, claimed responsibility on Thursday last week for the kidnapping.

Lebanese authorities said they believe a gang of Lebanese and Syrian nationals involved in criminal activities is behind the kidnapping, the most serious one after Lebanon's Civil War ended in 1990.

Source: Xinhua
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