Install

Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Relief Workers Kidnapped

The international relief group M?decins Sans Fronti?res has said its representatives were negotiating with kidnappers who seized two organization employees in the breakaway republic of Chechnya.


"We have been able to make contact and we are in negotiations. We are waiting to see more clearly what the situation is. We are keeping a bit of discretion until we get our friends out," Dr. Renauld Dockert, MSF spokesman said Sunday in Brussels.


The two captives, a woman MSF employee who is about 30 years old and her Russian interpreter, 34, were seized Saturday in Grozny, the Chechen capital.


The woman was initially identified as a Belgian national, but Dockert said Sunday she was a Yugoslav from Serbia and has worked for the organization for two to three years in logistics.


He declined to provide the captives' names but said they apparently were "doing well" and were not mistreated. "We did not see them," he added.


The kidnappers, according to MSF, have demanded $200,000 in ransom for the release of their captives.


Chechnya's pro-Moscow Interior Ministry said the kidnappers initially set a deadline of 9 p.m. local time Saturday, but it expired without the captives being released or the ransom paid.


Chechnya's Interior Minister Khamid Inalov told Interfax that the captives were either forced to abandon their car or left with the kidnappers voluntarily, not suspecting foul play. According to the ministry, they were seized near a dairy farm on the outskirts of Grozny.