Indian Maoists kidnap lawmaker during Italian hostage talks

By REUTERS
March 24, 2012 08:03

 
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BHUBANESWAR, India - Maoist rebels kidnapped an Indian politician on Saturday, police said, a move that could upset talks over the release of two Italian hostages held by left-wing fighters in the same eastern state of Orissa.

A large group of armed men stopped Orissa state lawmaker Jhina Hikaka, 37, as he was being driven through a hilly area 500 km from the state capital Bhubaneswar early on Saturday.

"They took him hostage but left the driver and the bodyguard," police officer Suryamani Pradhan told Reuters. "We are awaiting further details."

Pradhan said the rebels left a leaflet on Hikaka's car listing the same 13 demands set for the release of Italians Paolo Bosusco and Claudio Colangelo, taken hostage last week in what is believed to be the first time the rebels have targeted foreigners.

It was not clear if the politician was kidnapped by the same wing of the Maoists. Saturday's kidnapping took place in a different region of the state.

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