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Georgia: Last UN Hostages Released

Tbilisi, 15 October 1999 (RFE/RL) - An official with Georgia's Interior Ministry says the last three UN workers being held by gunmen in a remote region have been released. The head of the anti-terrorism department within the Georgian Interior Ministry, Levan Kenchadze, told RFE/RL that the release was unconditional. Today's release follows the freeing of four other UN workers by the same gunmen yesterday. The hostage-takers had originally demanded some $250,000 in ransom. The UN workers were seized Wednesday soon after landing by helicopter in a remote village in the Kodori Valley, a mountainous part of Abkhazia. They were part of a contingent helping monitor a ceasefire between Georgia and separatist Abkhaz forces since the end of hostilities there in 1994.