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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

UN Won't Pay Ransom

GENEVA -- The United Nations refugee agency will not pay a ransom to free its North Ossetia mission chief, who has been held in captivity for 19 days, a spokesman said Tuesday.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees saw a videotape aired Monday night by NTV television in which Vincent Cochetel, a 37-year-old French national, asked for a ransom payment.

The UNHCR, like all UN agencies, "rejects payment of ransom as a matter of principle," spokesman Kris Janowski said.

Cochetel was abducted Jan. 29 from his home in the North Ossetian capital, Vladikavkaz, by three masked gunmen.