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German to Be Freed for Cash, Muslim Captors Say

November 19, 1987|Reuters

BEIRUT — A Beirut newspaper said today that West German hostage Rudolf Cordes, kidnaped in Lebanon 10 months ago, will be released soon for a cash ransom.

The conservative Sunni Muslim daily Al Liwaa, quoting a diplomatic source, said Bonn had succeeded in negotiating his freedom with pro-Iranian kidnapers.

The report follows the release in September of another West German hostage, Alfred Schmidt, 47.

A Muslim security source told Reuters that a $1-million ransom was paid for Schmidt. But Bonn denied any payment.

"German hostage Rudolf Cordes will be released very soon in a deal similar to the one which secured freedom for his colleague Alfred Schmidt," Al Liwaa said.

Al Liwaa said the diplomatic source feared that another cash deal for a hostage could encourage more kidnapings.

Cordes, 53, Lebanon manager for Hoechst, a chemical company, and Schmidt, a Siemens Co. worker, were abducted separately in January, 1987, in an attempt to force Bonn to free Lebanese Shia Muslim Mohammed Ali Hamadei.

Hamadei faces trial on charges of taking part in the 1985 hijacking to Beirut of a Trans World Airlines plane. A U.S. Navy diver on board was shot dead by one of the hijackers.

At least 26 foreigners are believed still held hostage in Lebanon, including eight Americans. Most of the kidnapings have been blamed on pro-Iranian Muslim fundamentalists.

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