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Kidnap Suspect Arrested in Afghanistan

September 28, 2005

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) _ Afghan authorities have arrested a man suspected in the kidnapping of Italian aid worker Clementina Cantoni, who was freed after three weeks in captivity earlier this year, the interior minister said Wednesday.

Temur Shah was detained Tuesday in a joint operation by police and intelligence agents, outgoing Interior Minister Ali Ahmad Jelali told a news conference.

Cantoni, who had been working for CARE International in Kabul on a project helping Afghan widows and their families, was abducted by armed men May 16 and released in the Afghan capital on June 9.

Besides the kidnapping of Cantoni, Shah is also accused of abducting and killing the son of an Afghan businessman, and threatening a bank chairman in an extortion attempt a few days ago, Jelali said.

Italian newspapers reported that Cantoni’s freedom was secured thanks to the release of Shah’s mother, one of four people who had been detained for alleged links with her kidnappers. But Interior Ministry officials said the release of the mother and the other three was not part of a deal with Cantoni’s kidnappers.

Cantoni, 32 when she was released, said she was treated well while in captivity and was moved once by her captors.

Italian newspapers quoted Cantoni as saying after her release that the only person she had spoken to as a captive was Shah, who she said told her his name shortly after she was abducted.

Update hourly