French photographer escapes Afghan kidnappers after four months

KABUL Mon Apr 8, 2013 11:39am EDT

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KABUL (Reuters) - A French photographer kidnapped in Afghanistan four months ago fled his captors on Monday and was now safe in the hands of officials from his embassy, the Afghan Interior Ministry said.

Twenty-nine-year-old freelancer Pierre Borghi had been chained up in a crudely dug hole covered by a trap door but managed to escape and reached a checkpoint manned by government security guards in central Wardak province, an Afghan official said.

Borghi, from Grenoble in southeastern France, was brought to the Interior Ministry's headquarters in Kabul at about 4.30 p.m. (1200 GMT) and left in the company of French embassy officials less than an hour later, ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said.

He was in good health and one of the first things he asked for after arriving was a cup of coffee, Sediqqi said. The French embassy declined to comment.

Borghi was snatched by four armed men from a street in a busy area of the capital Kabul on November 28 and had been held in several locations, including the back of a vehicle, the Afghan official said.

He said it was likely that Borghi was first taken by organized criminals and then sold to insurgents.

The captors, wearing turbans wrapped around their faces, had filmed Borghi several times and told him they were, variously, Taliban, Haqqani and al Qaeda, the official said.

(Writing by Katharine Houreld and Dylan Welch; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)

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