Captured cyslists set free by Kurds

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The Independent Online
(First Edition)

A BRITISH man and his Australian cousin were released late last night by Kurdish rebels who had been holding them hostage in Turkey for five weeks. A British embassy spokesman said they were 'in good health and glad to be out'.

David Rowbottom and Tania Miller, both 28, walked into a police station in south-eastern Turkey. They were captured by members of the PKK, the Kurdistan Workers Party, on 4 July. Four French tourists held by the PKK were freed earlier yesterday.

Mr Rowbottom, an oil engineer from Stockport, set out with his fiancee Ms Miller, a nurse, to cycle from London to Brisbane a year ago. They disappeared from a campsite near the town of Tatvan after going to explore a lake on Mount Nemrut.

Ten days later, the PKK confirmed it was holding them: the organisation, which is fighting for an independent state, said they were arrested because they had not asked permission to enter the area. Kurdish representatives in London said they had been taken into custody for their own safety.

Alan Rowbottom, Mr Rowbottom's father, said last night that he was delighted, though he did not know what condition the couple were in. Ms Miller's mother told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that she expected them to fly to the UK today. Doreen Miller said her hopes of their release had diminished in recent days after a negotiating party had left the area.

After apparently fruitless negotiations, the Turkish Interior Minister prematurely announced the couple's release last Friday. Earlier the PKK had allowed British journalists to visit them. The PKK had demanded an end to hostilities and a high-profile delegation as conditions for the release.

The Foreign Office advises visitors not to travel to the south-east of Turkey, or to the Mount Ararat area of the east.

French four released, page 8

Captured cyclists

set free by Kurds

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