November 26, 2004
Ransom Paid for UN Hostages?
Last week we were grateful that 3 UN election workers being held hostage and threatened with beheding by Taliban elements were released in Afghanistan. Today, this story via Captain Ed that ransom may have been paid for their release. The former hostages are Annetta Flanigan from Northern Ireland, Shqipe Hebibi from Kosovo, and Angelito Nayan from the Phillipines. Reuters:
A former British soldier and journalist detained over his role in the release of three U.N. hostages was himself freed on Friday and said he had passed on a message offering $1.5 million to a group for the trio's freedom.
Veteran war cameraman Peter Jouvenal, who now runs a guesthouse in Kabul, said he passed on the offer of money from Kosovan businessman Behgjet Pacolli to the Taliban splinter faction Jaish-e Muslimeen (Army of Muslims) via an intermediary. "But as far as I understand that money was not paid," he said. Pacolli, a family friend of one of the hostages, has denied paying any ransom but has said Jouvenal traveled on his behalf to the Pakistani city of Peshawar to contact the militants.
A government official, meanwhile, said he understood the hostages were freed on Tuesday after the payment of a ransom, but he did not know by whom it was paid or to whom. "As far as I understand money has been given," he said, speaking on condition of anonymity.