Three South Korean women were freed on Saturday a day after they were kidnapped by armed tribesmen in Egypt's Sinai peninsula when clan elders negotiated their release, a security official said.
The head of security in South Sinai Maj. Gen. Mohammed Naguib said that the three women and their Egyptian tour guide were kidnapped on Friday by tribesmen wanting to pressure Egyptian authorities to release their detained relatives.
Naguib said tourists were abducted around 20 miles (30 kilometres) from the sixth-century St. Catherine's Monastery, close to where two Americans were taken last week.
In both incidents, tribesmen took some of the passengers from a tour vehicle while leaving others behind.
Naguib said security officials and tribal elders negotiated their release with the captor, Ali Dikheil, who he said was imprisoned for drug and weapons crimes but broke out during the popular uprising that toppled President Hosni Mubarak on Feb. 11, 2011.
It was the latest in a series of kidnappings in Sinai. The peninsula has seen a surge in lawlessness over the last year, but abducted tourists are rarely harmed.
Two American women kidnapped last week said afterward that their captors served them tea and dried fruit.
on Saturday an official source in South Sinai has denied media reports that the three Korean tourists kidnapped on Friday and their tour guide have been released.