Maoists Release 1 of 2 Italian Hostages

Posted March 25th, 2012 at 6:35 am (UTC-5)
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Maoist rebels in India have released one of the two Italian men kidnapped almost two weeks ago in the eastern state of Orissa.

Claudio Colangelo, who was freed Sunday, says he hopes the second man will be released soon.

Colangelo and tour guide Paolo Bosusco were taken hostage by the rebels on March 14.

The rebels had 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.

Maoist rebels, known as Naxalites or Naxals, have infiltrated more than 20 Indian states.

Indian leaders have referred to Naxalism as the country's biggest internal security threat. The groups include some of the country's most extreme poor, who say they are struggling against state-sanctioned acquisition of their land and natural resources.