COPENHAGEN: A Beirut-based Danish journalist has been freed after being abducted in Lebanon and held hostage for almost one month, his former employer, Danish broadcaster DR, said Friday.
“Jeppe Nybroe was abducted just under a month ago, while he was in the Bekaa Valley in eastern Lebanon, near the Syrian border,” DR said on its website.
Nybroe was kidnapped by “criminal gangs” after renting a car in Beirut and driving toward the Bekaa Valley, near the Syrian border, together with a Lebanese journalist, Danish media reported.
“We still don’t know exactly where they were taken from, the border area around Arsal is unclear,” Ayman Mhanna of the Samir Kassir Eyes Center, a local press freedom group, told AFP.
The group said it had been in touch with the men during the kidnapping. “In their contacts with us, they made clear that they believed they were being held in Syria,” he added.
The abduction was kept secret until Friday out of concern for the families of the two journalists, according to Danish daily Politiken, which added the kidnappers had demanded a ransom.
They arrived in Beirut late Thursday, it said, citing the brother of the Lebanese journalist. It was not clear whether a ransom was paid to secure their release.
The two journalists were reportedly being questioned by police in Beirut after their release.
“It is standard procedure for people involved in these kinds of incidents to be brought back to Beirut for questioning by security officials after their release,” Mhanna said.
They were in the area to prepare a report on kidnappings when they were abducted, Politiken said.
Lebanon has been witnessing a spate of kidnap-for-ransom operations since March 2011.