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Kidnapped Germans freed in Lebanon

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Kidnapped Germans freed in Lebanon
The Bekaa Valley in Lebanon. Photo: Wikimedia
08:58 CET+01:00
Two German citizens kidnapped in eastern Lebanon were freed on Saturday, hours after their abduction, but police arrested them on drug trafficking charges, the official National News Agency reported.

"The Germans abducted last night in the eastern Bekaa Valley were released today," NNA said, adding that "police have arrested them for drug trafficking."

It did not give further details.

The Germans were seized on Friday by unknown gunmen demanding a ransom for their release, in what a security official indicated to be a criminal rather than a political act.

The two Germans were "taken to an unknown location" after their kidnappers tried in vain to coerce a cash transfer bureau to hand over money in one of the abductees' names, said the NNA.

"The kidnappers later made a call to one of their friends, demanding ransom," the agency added.

Speaking to AFP on condition of anonymity, a security official said the police received information of the kidnapping late Friday.

"We are following up on the case. It appears to be a non-political kidnapping for financial reasons," he said.

"The emergency operator received a call from people saying they were German citizens who had been kidnapped. Later, a Lebanese man called demanding a ransom of €6,000 euros ($8,000)," he added.

Another police source told AFP the two kidnapping victims were dual nationals, holding both German and Lebanese citizenship.

The kidnapping is the first of its kind since 2011, when a group of seven Estonian cyclists were abducted for four months.

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