Freed Italian says they were victims of Maoists-govt tussle

Written by: Pti
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Naxal operation
Bhubaneswar, Mar 25: Italian tourist Claudio Colangelo, who was released on Sunday after being in Maoist captivity for 11 days, said he became victim of an ongoing tussle between the ultras and the government.

While his compatriot Paolo Bosusco (54) was still held captive by the Maoists, 61-year-old Colangelo told reporters after his release: "We got entangled in the conflict between the government and Maoists. We had little knowledge about the Maoist problem in the region."

Colangelo, who was handed over to a group of media personnel by the Maoists in Kandhamal district and later taken to Sorada in Ganjam district and then to Bhubaneswar, said, "It was frightening and a painful experience." Stating that he would like to visit the forests of Odisha again, he said, "But I will be scared to enter this jungle (in Kandhamal) again." He said he had spoken to his wife and his entire family heaved a sigh of relief over his release.

The Italian tourist denied reports that photographs of tribals were being taken by them when the Maoists captured them. "No photographs were being taken." Regarding reports that police had warned them against entering the jungles in tribal-dominated and Naxal-hit Kandhamal, he said, "On the contrary, we went in only after the police allowed us."

Colangelo said that the other Italian, 54-year-old Puri-based tour operator Paolo Bosusco, was with him in a Maoist camp this morning. "We have to pray for him and see that he too returns safely."


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