Grozny, 14 November 1997 (RFE/RL) - Two Turkish nationals, kidnapped several months ago in Chechnya, were reported freed today by the special anti-kidnapping unit in Russia's breakaway republic.
Magomed Magomadov, head of the anti-kidnapping unit, told Itar-tass the two men -- identified only as Fazil and Farouk -- were freed during an overnight operation. Three of the alleged abductors were arrested. Magomadov said the kidnappers had demanded a ransom of several million dollars but had received no money. He did not provide further details of the operation.
Chechnya has seen a wave of kidnapping after the end of its war against Moscow last year. Most of the kidnappings are apparently carried out for ransom, with foreigners being considered prime targets. President Aslan Maskhadov has introduced the death penalty for kidnappers.