UN chief welcomes release of Turkish hostages

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Ban Ki-Moon
United Nations, Sep 23: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed the recent release of Turkish hostages held by the Islamic State (IS) Sunni militant group in Iraq.

Ban is relieved that the Turkish men, women and children, freed on Friday, are now home safe and sound at the end of a "three-month ordeal", Xinhua quoted a Ban's statement as saying on Monday.

As many as 46 Turkish hostages released by the IS militants returned to the Turkish capital of Ankara by the special plane of Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and were reunited with their families at the Ankara Esenboga Airport.

A group of IS armed attackers took control of the Turkish consulate in Mosul in Iraq on June 11, and abducted 49 staff, including Consul General Ozturk Yilmaz, and their family members and three Iraqi citizens.

"The secretary-general reiterates his call for the immediate release of all hostages in the region and reminds parties that kidnapping is a gross violation of human rights and humanitarian law," the statement said.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the hostages' freedom was the result of a successful "operation" by the country's intelligence agencies.

IANS

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