Dutch hostage released in Chechnya

April 11, 2004 at 5:00 PM
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MOSCOW, April 11 (UPI) -- A Dutch medical aid worker taken hostage by gunmen near Chechnya in August of 2002 has been released, Russian and Dutch officials announced.

The relief organization Doctors Without Borders announced that Arjan Erkel was freed in the Russian southern province of Dagestan, the BBC reported Sunday.

The organization said Erkel seemed in "reasonable good health" and had been taken to the capital of Dagestan, Makhachkala.

The international medical group had been lobbying Russian and Western officials to secure his release, though no ransom demands were reported.

Doctors Without Borders has suspended its operations in Chechnya several times over kidnappings of its personnel.

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