Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Mastermind behind kidnapping of Italian aid worker arrested - again

This is good news. From the Guardian UK comes the good news that the person responsible for the kidnapping of Italian aid worker Clementina Cantoni has been arrested:

The "mastermind" behind the gang who kidnapped an Italian aid worker in Afghanistan in May has been arrested, interior officials confirmed.

The Afghan interior minister, Ali Ahmad Jalali, said Temur Shah was arrested in a joint operation between police and intelligence agents yesterday.

Mr Shah is accused of kidnapping 32-year-old Clementina Cantoni, who was dragged from her car at gunpoint on May 16 and released 24 days later. She had been working for CARE International in Kabul when she was abducted.

He is also accused of abducting and killing the son of an Afghan businessman and threatening a bank chairman with extortion last week, Mr Jalali said.

Mr Shah was arrested earlier this month but released after an army general said there had been a case of mistaken identity. Ms Cantoni reportedly then identified him from photographs shown to her by investigators, leading to his re-arrest.

According to reports in Italian newspapers, he was the only person who had spoken to Ms Cantoni during her captivity. She said he told her his name shortly after she had been abducted.

The Italian had been working in Kabul on an aid project helping Afghan widows and their families. After she was kidnapped, hundreds of women she had helped staged protests in the capital to call for her release.

When she was freed, Ms Cantoni said she had been treated well while in captivity.

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