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French photographer escapes Afghan kidnappers after four months

Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation - Mon, 8 Apr 2013 18:15 GMT
Author: Reuters
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* Photographer was abducted on street in Kabul

* Managed to escape from hole where chained (Adds French foreign ministry statement)

By Hamid Shalizi and Dylan Welch

KABUL, April 8 (Reuters) - A French photographer kidnapped in Afghanistan four months ago fled his captors on Monday and was now safe in the hands of officials from his embassy, the Afghan Interior Ministry said.

A second French hostage in Afghanistan was freed by his captors, a spokesman for France's foreign ministry said, without providing any details.

Twenty-nine-year-old freelance Pierre Borghi had been chained up in a crudely dug hole covered by a trap door but managed to escape and reached a checkpoint manned by government security guards in central Wardak province, an Afghan official said.

Borghi, from Grenoble in southeastern France, was brought to the Interior Ministry's headquarters in Kabul at about 4:30 p.m. (1200 GMT) and left in the company of French embassy officials less than an hour later, ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said.

He was in good health, Sediqqi said. The French embassy declined to comment.

Borghi was snatched by four armed men from a street in a busy area of the capital Kabul on Nov. 28 and had been held in several locations, including the back of a vehicle, the Afghan official said.

He said it was likely that Borghi was first taken by organised criminals and then sold to insurgents.

The captors, wearing turbans wrapped around their faces, had filmed Borghi several times and told him they were, variously, Taliban, Haqqani and al Qaeda, the official said. (Additional reporting by John Irish in Paris; Writing by Katharine Houreld and Dylan Welch; Editing by Michael Roddy)

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