Gunmen have freed two German hostages in Lebanon, after demanding ransom money. The German nationals are reportedly being held by the Lebanese police.
Lebanese police arrested two German men on drug trafficking charges on Saturday, after they were released from captivity by armed kidnappers, according to the official National News Agency. A Lebanese soldier and a gunman reportedly died as security forces moved in to arrest the abductors.
The Germans were reportedly dual citizens, also possessing Lebanese passports. According to authorities, they were kidnapped on Friday in the Bekaa Valley, a stronghold of the Shiite militia Hezbollah and an area known for criminality.
A representative of the Lebanese security forces told the AFP news agency that the kidnappers did not have political motives. But there were conflicting reports on why the two Germans were held hostage.
According to one account, the German men had an argument with drug dealers over a payment. But a security official said that gunmen seized the two Germans and demanded that they withdraw $3,000 with their visa cards. The armed kidnappers then told them to wire $5,000 more.
A spokeswoman for the German Foreign Ministry said that the government was following the situation.
"We are in contact with the two Germans and all the relevant authorities," the spokeswoman said.
slk/mkg (AFP, dpa)