(AFP) – CAIRO — Armed Bedouin tribesmen freed a Hungarian peacekeeper in Egypt’s Sinai after briefly detaining him on Thursday to press for the release of a jailed relative, police officials said.
The Bedouin set the soldier free after tribal leaders intervened, and the kidnappers had not realised they were capturing a member of the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO) stationed in the peninsula, the police said.
The MFO confirmed in a statement that one if its officers had been released after being held briefly.
The kidnappers had stopped a chartered bus heading from the peacekeepers’ camp to Cairo, the mission said on its website.
The MFO comprises contingents from 13 countries in camps near Egypt’s border with Israel, from where it monitors the observance of a 1979 peace treaty between the two countries.
Bedouin had kidnapped an Israeli and a Norwegian tourist last month in the south of the peninsula, which is dotted with beach resorts, to press for the release of jailed relatives.
The tourists were held for five days and released unharmed.
A spate of hostage takings, which usually last for no longer than 48 hours, broke out in Sinai after an uprising forced out president Hosni Mubarak in early 2011 and battered his security services.
The Sinai kidnappers are usually Bedouin who want to trade the hostages for jailed fellow tribesmen.