Indian authorities offered to free 27 prisoners in return for the release of an Italian citizen and a local legislator held hostage by Maoist rebels in the eastern state of Orissa.
The chief minister of Orissa, Naveen Patnaik, appealed in a statement Wednesday to the left-wing insurgents to release the Italian Paolo Bosusco and the state lawmaker Jhina Hikaka immediately, requesting they be "unharmed and in good health."
Bosusco and another Italian tourist, Claudio Colangelo, were abducted in the province's Kandhamal district on March 14. Colangelo was set free 11 days later, but Bosusco has remained captive.
The guerillas also kidnapped Hikaka, a member of the state's legislative assembly.
Patnaik specified that 23 prisoners would be freed to secure Hikaka's release and the other four for Bosusco's.FULL STORY