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Two abducted Red Cross delegates return to Geneva

Tearful reunion: Italian Red Cross worker, Natascia Zullino, greets her husband at Geneva airport Keystone

The two delegates of the International Committee of the Red Cross, kidnapped in Georgia over a week ago, returned to Geneva on Sunday. Their debriefing at ICRC headquarters is due to begin on Monday.

The French and Italian delegates, Sophie Prokofiev and Natalia Zelino, flew back to Geneva where they were met by their families.

They returned on board a plane fromm the Georgian capital, Tbilisi, chartered by the ICRC.

An ICRC spokesman, Chris Bowers, said they would spend two days in debriefing. He said the organisation had not paid a ransom to secure their freedom.

They were kidnapped, along with a driver, in an area close to the Georgian border with Chechnya.

The identity of their kidnappers, and the means by which their release was secured, have not been disclosed.

Shortly after they disappeared, it was believed they might have been abducted by Chechen rebels active in the area close to the border where Chechen refugees are based.

However, Georgian officials indictaed they might have been kidnapped by a group of local criminals.

swissinfo with agencies

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR