Belfast Telegraph

Monday 21 April 2014

Kidnapped Italian tour guide freed

Italian tourist guide Paulo Bosusco, centre, who was abducted by Maoist rebels more than a month ago, talks to the media (AP Photo)

An Italian tour guide abducted by Maoist rebels in a remote forest area of eastern India has been freed, and said he had lost 22 pounds during his month-long ordeal.

Paulo Bosusco's captors let him go after local officials agreed to release five rebels from prison.

Mr Bosusco along with Italian tourist Claudio Colangelo was abducted on March 14 while on a trek in Orissa state. Mr Colangelo was released 11 days later, but Mr Bosusco remained in captivity while negotiations took place between the rebels and the state government.

Mr Bosusco said he had been treated well by the rebels.

"I'm in good health. There's nothing to worry about. I love Orissa," he told journalists in Bhubaneshwar, the state capital. "The first thing I want to do is fly to Italy and meet my family," he said.

Later, in a phone interview to Italy's Sky TG24 TV, Bosusco said that his time in captivity was "tough."

"I, with my character, suffered perhaps less than other people, but I suffered physically, in fact I lost 10 kilos," the Italian said. "I'm joking, talking, laughing to reassure all those who know me. But otherwise it was tough. They were 28 days in which you didn't know how things were going to end up," he said.

Mr Bosusco, who has been living in India for more than 12 years, runs an adventure tourism bureau from the coastal town of Puri in Orissa.

The rebels are inspired by Chinese revolutionary leader Mao Zedong and have been fighting in several Indian states for more than four decades demanding land and jobs for farmers and the poor.

Police said the rebels held the men in a hideout deep in the jungles of the state's Kandhamal district.

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