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Kidnapped Boy Released After 4 Days

May 20, 2000

ZURICH, Switzerland (AP) _ The eight-year old son of a wealthy ethnic Albanian was released unharmed Saturday, four days after he was seized on his way to school by a Yugoslav-based kidnapping ring.

Police said Kuvet Salahi was freed near the central Swiss town of Lucerne after an unprecedented joint operation between Swiss and Serbian police. A $700,000 ransom, flown to Belgrade on Friday, was fully recovered by Serbian authorities.

One man was arrested in Switzerland and two more in Serbia. Police launched a search for four more.

The boy was thrown into a car trunk as he made his way to school in Zurich on Tuesday. It sent the closely-knit ethnic Albanian community into shock, especially because the boy’s father, Bedzet Salahi, was a well-known figure thanks to his network of travel companies and his support for the Kosovo Albanian cause.

Zurich police official Peter Ruegger said the kidnappers had phoned the Salahi family from Serbia and demanded that the ransom be sent there. The money was flown to Belgrade on Friday and then taken on to a contact point, he said.

In the early hours of Saturday, Serbian police arrested two men, who subsequently provided Kuvet’s whereabouts in Switzerland, said Ruegger. The boy was reunited with his family.

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