Algeria: August 17, 2003


   The 14 European hostages,  kidnapped in southern Algeria last February, have been released by Islamic radicals in Mali. A ransom was paid, although how much and by who has not been announced. The Algerian kidnappers were demanding $73 million. The hostages were in several groups and were released to local Turareg tribesmen, who are to bring the hostages to an airport for movement back to Algeria. A Turareg chief, Iyad Ag Ghali, helped in the negotiations. Iyad Ag Ghali is also a successful businessman in northwestern Mali, had led a rebellion against the Mali government until he signed a peace deal in 1991. Since then, he has brokered peace deals with other dissident groups as well. 


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