BEIRUT — A French cultural affairs official freed unharmed 10 days after he was kidnaped said today that his release was accidental.
Gilles Sidney Peyrolles, the fourth of nine Westerners kidnaped in mid-March to be freed, said he was released late Monday only because armed villagers encircled his captors in the Bekaa Valley.
"The villagers asked what we were doing there. . . . I was very afraid because they thought that I was Israeli."
Peyrolles, 32, head of the French cultural center in Tripoli, said the villagers took him and two of his kidnapers to a headquarters of the Amal Muslim Shia movement.
"I was thus a prisoner for a second time," he said. "Amal succeeded in making my kidnapers leave and they freed me. They then took me to the home of (Amal leader) Nabih Berri in Beirut and the French ambassador came there."