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Iraqi Kidnappers Release Portuguese Reporter

November 16, 2003|From Reuters

LISBON — A Portuguese radio reporter kidnapped in southern Iraq was released unharmed Saturday after about 30 hours in captivity, his station said.

Carlos Raleiras of Lisbon-based TSF called the station to say his captors had freed him in the desert a few miles from the Kuwaiti border.

"I spent this morning in the trunk of a car. I am completely dirty, as you might imagine," Raleiras, 33, said.

He was seized Friday morning by gunmen who opened fire on three cars carrying Portuguese reporters a few minutes after they entered Iraq from Kuwait.

Two other reporters were left at the side of the road. One of them was wounded in the leg.

Nine men held Raleiras at first, and two or three moved him "from house to house, that is, shacks," he said.

Luis Proenca, TSF's assistant editor, said the kidnappers had asked for a ransom. However, he had heard nothing about a payment and said British troops were in charge of efforts to find Raleiras.

"No one asked us in the last few hours to make a payment," he said. "In my opinion it wasn't paid, since he was let loose in the middle of the desert."

The reporters were in Iraq to cover a contingent of Portuguese paramilitary officers who arrived there recently.

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