Official sources deny Korean kidnapped tourists have been released

MENA, Saturday 11 Feb 2012

The three kidnapped Korean tourists and their guide have not yet been released, despite media reports

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. The three Korean tourists and their Egyptian guide were kidnapped from the city of Saint Catherine in Egypt's desert peninsula that borders with Israel.

Officials confirm on Saturday that negotiations are still ongoing between military, governorate officials and the tribesmen of South Sinai.

The kidnappers are bargaining to release one of their fellow tribesmen from prison. He was arrested under the pretext of being involved in the Credit Agricole bank robbery in Sharm El-Sheikh, however the kidnappers assert his innocence.   

Egyptian security chief for the Sinai Peninsula Major-General Mohammed Naguib announced the kidnapping on Friday.

According to Naguib, armed tribesmen stopped a tourist bus and took the four hostages, leaving several other tourists behind.

The incident is the latest in a string of kidnappings this month. Tribesmen have abducted tourists to use as bargaining chips in negotiations with the government for the release of imprisoned relatives or friends.

Tourists are rarely harmed in such cases. Two American women briefly abducted last week with their Egyptian guide said later that they were not harmed and that their captors had served them tea and dried fruit.

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