Czech tour guide kidnapped at gunpoint in Egypt freed

Czech woman the fourth tourist kidnapped in Sinai region this year; captors usually demand release of jailed Bedouin tribesmen

Brian Kenety 22.3.2012

A 35-year-old Czech woman kidnapped by an armed gang early on Thursday morning in the Egyptian coastal town of Nuweiba in the Sinai Peninsula has reportedly been released, two hours after she was taken hostage by the Bedouin tribe members. Another tribe reportedly helped to capture the assailants.

State-run news agency MENA said the woman was acting as a tour guide to a group of 12 Czechs when forcibly pulled of a Travel Ways bus by four armed men, driving in a truck with no license plate. They stopped the bus using automatic weapons before forcing her into the truck and fleeing with her towards the mountains, local media said.

The Czech guide, whose identity has not been made public, is said to be married to an Egyptian who works for the same tour company. The group was on their way back to the popular resort town of Sharm El-Sheikh following a sightseeing trip to Nuweiba and Taba.

Online portal Ahram Online said it was the fourth tourist kidnapping in the Sinai region this year. In all cases, the foreigners were held for a short period of time and released unharmed — with the kidnappers usually demanding the release of jailed tribesmen in return for freeing the hostages.

In March, two Brazilian tourists were kidnapped along with their tour guide by armed Bedouin, but released eight hours later. In February, three South Korean women were kidnapped in Sinai by armed tribesmen and, in a separate incident, two female US tourists were kidnapped, again by armed assailants in Sharm El-Sheikh. Last year 25 Chinese workers were also kidnapped in two separate incidents, the MENA agency said.

Bedouin tribesmen in Sinai have been involved in a series of confrontations with Egyptian security forces in recent months. A gas pipeline from Egypt to Israel has also repeatedly been sabotaged. The region’s tourist resorts, like Sharm El-Sheikh, have remained largely secure.