Egypt Seeks Release of US Hostages in Sinai

Posted July 16th, 2012 at 10:55 am (UTC-5)
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Egyptian officials are working to negotiate with a Bedouin man who took two Americans and a local tour guide hostage to demand his uncle's release from jail.

A group of armed men abducted Michel Louis, Lisa Alphonse and their Egyptian tour guide on Friday. They were part of a bus tour heading to a sixth century church located at the foot of Mount Sinai.

Louis' family is urging the speedy release of the hostages, saying the 61-year-old Michel suffers from diabetes and needs his medicine.

Louis' son, Jean Joel Manasse Louis, tells VOA that his father, a Haitian-American and a pastor of a Boston church, organizes a pilgrimage every year. He says a representative for U.S. Senator Scott Brown has assured his family that the lawmaker's office is doing everything it can to obtain the freedom of the hostages.

Louis' son also says the State Department is in contact with his mother, who also took part in the pilgrimage. He says his mother is receiving updates every few hours from U.S. officials about any progress in the situation.

Authorities have identified the abductor as Germy Abu Masuh, a member of a prominent Bedouin tribe in the Sinai. Abu Masuh wants Egyptian police to free his uncle, who is in jail for possessing half a ton of drugs.