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Tajikistan: Search Begins For French Hostages

Dushanbe, 24 November 1997 (RFE/RL)- Tajik authorities began a search today in villages east of the capital, Dushanbe, to try to find two French nationals who have been held captive since November 18.

The kidnappers sent a photograph of one of the captives with the message "We are Bakhrom's men. Free Bakhrom" written across the back.

Bakhrom Sodirov and his brother Rezvon have taken foreigners hostage in December 1996 and February of this year. Bakhrom was wounded in fighting with government forces and gave himself up to authorities in March. Rezvon is still at large.

Tajik authorities have already taken 11 people into custody in connection with the kidnapping. Tajik Prosecutor-General Salomiddin Sharipov said forces conducting today's operation will avoid using force to free the hostages.