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UN Repeats Appeal For Hostages' Release

31 October 2004 -- The United Nations has again appealed for the kidnappers of three UN workers in Afghanistan to release them unharmed.

The appeal, by the UN's chief spokesman in Afghanistan, comes after the kidnappers set a deadline of noon Wednesday local time for killing the hostages.

Spokesman Manoel de Almeida e Silva made his appeal through journalists in Kabul today: "We call on those holding them not to harm them. All three require medical attention, and the best response to such a situation is their immediate release."

A group called the Jaish-e-Muslimeen (Army of Muslims) claims to be holding the hostages, and is demanding that the U.S. release all Taliban and Al-Qaeda prisoners.