TALLINN - Seven Estonian tourists kidnapped in Lebanon have appealed for help, saying their lives were in danger, a video tape from the captives showed on Friday.
Lebanese authorities have charged 11 people with kidnapping the tourists at gunpoint in March and shooting at a security force patrol that was chasing them. It remains unclear where the seven men are. Lebanese media have said they could be in Syria.
"Today is the 16th of May, 2011, we have been in jail for 54 days. It is really hard for us, we are very tired and we are in great danger," one of the kidnapped men said in the 46 second video, which was posted on www.4share.com.
"We ask our families and all people who know us to help us in any way to get out of here and we ask them to push the Estonian government to help us out from this jail," the bearded hostage said in the clip. "The Estonian government has left us and does not want to help us anymore," the man added.
The circumstances of the kidnapping, a rare event since the 1975-90 Lebanese civil war, remain unclear. The area where they were kidnapped is known for its lawlessness and many gangs involved in car thefts operate there. Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Paet has been lobbying various Arab governments for help in trying to secure their release. The Foreign Ministry said in a statement that work would continue with the Lebanese government.