Maoists Release 1 of 2 Italian Hostages

Posted March 25th, 2012 at 6:00 pm (UTC-5)
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Maoist rebels in eastern Indian state of Orissa have released one of the two Italian men they kidnapped almost two weeks ago.

Claudio Colangelo, who was freed Sunday, described his experience as frightening. He expressed hope that the second man, Paolo Bosusco, will be released soon.

Colangelo, a tourist, and tour guide Bosusco were taken hostage by the rebels along with their Indian cook and driver on March 14. The two Indians were released the same day.

The rebels issued a series of demands for the release of the Italians, including an end to the government's anti-rebel operations and the release of imprisoned comrades. Rebel negotiators had talked with government officials about releasing the Italians.

On Saturday, the Maoists abducted a lawmaker in a different part of Orissa. It was not clear if the politician was kidnapped by the same wing of the Maoists who abducted the Italians.

Indian leaders have called the 40-year Maoist insurgency the country's biggest internal security threat.

The rebels have infiltrated more than 20 Indian states, saying they are fighting for jobs and land for the poor.

Last year, India's Home Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram offered federal support to states dealing with Maoist rebels. Chidambaram said the government will enact a two-pronged approach that will include police action and development programs in the two states worst hit by the insurgency, Chhattisgarh and Orissa.