One Italian hostage released by Indian Maoists


Maoist rebels in India on Sunday released one of two Italian men who were kidnapped 11 days ago while on an adventure holiday in the eastern state of Orissa.
“It was a frightening experience. They have finally released me today,” Claudio Colangelo, a 61-year-old tourist from Rome, told the NDTV news channel after being freed. “Let’s hope they release Paolo (Bosusco) soon.”
Colangelo and Bosusco — a professional tour guide living in India — were kidnapped while travelling in a remote region of Orissa, one of several states where an armed Maoist insurgency holds sway over much of the countryside. They were the first foreigners to be taken hostage by the rebels, who have previously kidnapped local officials and villagers, freeing some after negotiations but killing others.
“I have no idea what conditions have been laid down by the Maoists. I hope they will understand that Paolo is nothing to do with the whole issue,” Colangelo said. The rebels had issued a series of demands for the Italians’ release, including a ban on tourists visiting tribal areas, the end of the government’s anti-rebel operations and the release of jailed Maoist leaders.
Bosusco, 54, from Turin, has been living in Orissa for a decade and runs an adventure tourism and trekking company, while Colangelo is a doctor in Italy. “My family is in Rome and I will soon talk to them,” Colangelo said after Maoists released him to media reporters. The NDTV news channel said its reporters had trekked for 16 hours to arrange the hand-over with local Maoist commander Sabyasachi Panda in Kandhamal, 250 kilometres (150 miles) southwest of the state capital Bhubaneswar.
In Rome, Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi said Colangelo had spoken by telephone with Italy’s consul-general, who had flown to Bhubaneswar to support efforts to bring the men to safety.
“He told him that he was in good health and was now travelling with some Indian journalists who had succeeded in reaching the area where the two Italians were,” Terzi said in a statement.
Terzi said Italian officials continued “to count on the cooperation and availability of the Indian authorities” as they try to secure Bosusco’s release.
Bosusco’s travel company, Orissa Adventurous Trekking, says on its website that it offers holidays to “a different India from the Taj Mahal, far, very far from the crowds of tourists.”