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Two ICRC workers taken hostage in Tajikistan

05-02-1997 News Release 97/02

Geneva (ICRC) - Late on Wednesday 5 February, the ICRC delegation in Dushanbe was informed that two of its staff, an expatriate and a local employee, had been taken hostage in the lower Garm Valley by a local commander. So far no ransom demands have been made and no explanation given.

The same commander had previously abducted five members of the United Nations Observer Mission in Tajikistan and five members of the Russian press. The ICRC team were returning to base from the town of Tavildara, where they had been conducting a survey to ascertain the needs of the many people severely affected by the brutal conflict in the country.

The ICRC, together with the UN Mission, deplores this abduction. It is yet another blatant violation of international humanitarian law and an act of direct aggression against those whose sole purpose is to aid victims of war. The ICRC joins the Observer Mission in calling upon all those with influence in the area to take every possible step to ensure the speedy release of all hostages.