Kidnap gang free boy after 6 months

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The Independent Online
CAGLIARI (Reuter) - An eight-year-old boy was freed last night after being held for almost six months by kidnappers in Sardinia, Italian television said.

Farouk Kassam, a Belgian-Arab with Canadian citizenship, was said to be well, but his whereabouts and the details of his release remained a mystery. The kidnappers were said to have demanded a dollars 6m ( pounds 3.2m) ransom from his father, a wealthy hotel owner. Last month, they sliced off part of Farouk's ear and threatened to cut him to pieces unless the ransom was paid.

Farouk was kidnapped from his family's villa in Sardinia on 15 January. Five days after the kidnapping, Italian authorities froze the family's assets, as is common in kidnapping cases, so that his relatives could not pay the ransom. However, there were unconfirmed reports that a ransom of dollars 2m was paid.