Orissa: I am tired and need some rest, freed Italian hostage

Written by: Pti
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Freed Italian Hostage
Bhubaneswar, Apr 12: Italian hostage Paolo Bosusco was released by the Maoists on Thursday, 29 days after he was abducted along with his countryman Claudio Colangelo by the Naxals in Odisha's Kandhamal district.

Bosusco, 54, was handed over by the Maoists to their mediator Dandapani Mohanty and some journalists in the forest of tribal-dominated Kandhamal district bordering Gajapati and Ganjam, official sources said.

Bosusco, a Puri-based Italian tour operator, had been abducted along with 61-year-old tourist Colangelo from his country on March 14 while trekking in the forests of Daringbadi area in Kandhamal district.

The Italian national was brought to the state capital in the company of mediapersons and Mohanty who, along with BD Sharma, negotiated with three Odisha government representatives for his release.

Saying that he loves Odisha very much, Bosusco told reporters, "I am happy being a free man now. I am tired and need some rest."

His release came two days after top Maoist leader of Odisha State Organising Committee (OSOC) Sabyasachi Panda's wife Subhashree Panda alias Mili Panda was released from jail following her acquittal by a Gunupur court in an encounter case of 2004.

Subhashree was one of the seven persons whose release the Maoists had demanded as one of the conditions to set free the Italian, who had spent the last 19 years in Puri running a travel agency.

The state government had also agreed to release five persons, including Subhashree, in order to secure the freedom of Bosusco unharmed and in good health.

The Italian's release came five days after the state government representatives, led by the home secretary UN Behera and the two Maoist-named mediators, signed a joint statement on April 7 on fulfillment of the 13-point charter of demands placed by the abductors.

His compatriot Colangelo had been released by the Maoists on March 25 as a "goodwill gesture", while Bosusco was not freed by the ultras who wanted their demands to be fulfilled by the Odisha government.

Even after signing of the joint statement, Bosusco's release was then delayed apparently due to the inability of the Maoist mediators to send the document to Sabyasachi Panda.


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