Estonians abducted in Lebanon released

Seven Estonian tourists were kidnapped in the eastern Bekaa Valley in March while on a cycling trip.

Tallinn: Estonia`s Foreign Ministry confirmed on Thursday that seven Estonian tourists kidnapped in Lebanon had been released and said they were in good health.

The men were kidnapped in the eastern Bekaa Valley in March while on a cycling trip.

"We have taken the freed compatriots to the French embassy in Beirut. Their health condition is good," the ministry said in a statement.

It was not immediately clear how the seven men came to be released.

Lebanon`s Interior Minister Marwan Charbel said he could not confirm reports that a ransom was paid to secure their freedom.

"To my knowledge they (the abductors) did not make any demands for a ransom for their release," Charbel told Lebanese television.

"Our sole priority right now is to ensure they arrive at the embassy safe and sound, and then we will hear whatever details they have," the minister added.

The abductors -- believed to be an unknown fundamentalist group called Haraket Al-Nahda Wal-Islah (Movement for Renewal and Reform) -- had reportedly demanded ransom in exchange for the release of the Estonians.

Bureau Report

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