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Kyrgyz Mufti Hospitalized After Escaping Kidnappers

Murataaly Hajji Juman-uulu (file photo)
Murataaly Hajji Juman-uulu (file photo)
BISHKEK -- Kyrgyz police say the country's mufti is in the hospital after managing to free himself from a group of kidnappers, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

Turatbek Madylbekov, Bishkek's acting police chief, told RFE/RL that mufti Murataaly Hajji Juman-uulu was abducted in Bishkek by four masked men who demanded a $1 million ransom from his relatives for his release.

Madylbekov said the kidnappers took Juman-uulu, 37, to the village of Baytik, near Bishkek, and held him there until April 22. It is unclear when he was abducted.

Madylbekov said the mufti managed to negotiate his release and is currently in hospital.

He did not explain how or on what terms Juman-uulu was freed.

Police have launched an investigation and are searching for the alleged abductors.