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DATE=11/8/1999 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=ANGOLA / HOSTAGE APPEAL (L-ONLY) NUMBER=2-255929 BYLINE=ALEX BELIDA DATELINE=JOHANNESBURG CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: The wife of a South African metallurgist missing since unknown gunmen attacked the diamond mine where he was working in northeastern Angola one year ago has issued an impassioned appeal for the release of her husband and three other men believed to have been abducted with him. V-O-A Johannesburg Correspondent Alex Belida has our (exclusive) report. TEXT: One year ago, Karen Larsen says, she was counting the days until her husband, 48 year old Douglas Larsen, returned to their Cape Town home at the end of his 18 month contact job at the Yetwene diamond mine in remote northeastern Angola. But early on the morning of November 8th last year, armed men attacked the mine. At least eight people, including two Britons and a Portuguese contract worker, died in the attack. Four others - including Mr. Larsen - disappeared and are presumed to have been taken captive. Nothing has been heard about the fate of the missing men since then. For Mrs. Larsen and her 11-year-old son, the past year has been a nightmare. /// LARSEN ACTUALITY /// I was completely unprepared for the nightmare that would follow as the weeks turned to months and the months became a year. I thought this would be over in a couple of weeks, a few months at the most. Nothing could have prepared any one of us for this. Although the mine was in a remote area, I did not believe Doug was in any real danger. As a wife and a mother, I feel so helpless not knowing what he has had to endure over the last 12 months. Although not a single stone has been left unturned, he's still not home. /// END ACTUALITY /// No one knows for sure who abducted Douglas Larsen, British geologist Jason Pope and Filipino mechanics Wilfred Amoges and Roberto Baptista. No one has claimed responsibility for the attack and no demands have been made for the release of the men who were seized. The trade publication "Mining Journal" said at the time of the attack the gunmen wore clothing associated not only with the UNITA rebel movement but also with local military and police units. In a statement to the Voice of America, Mrs. Larsen says she does not understand why her husband was seized. She just wants him freed. /// LARSEN ACTUALITY /// I believe the time has come for whoever is holding him captive to consider our agony over the last year and release him as soon as possible as a gesture of goodwill. There is nothing to be gained by holding onto him. I have nothing to offer his captors in exchange, only my gratitude for their compassion. I blame nobody for what happened, I just want him home where he belongs and this ordeal to end. /// END ACTUALITY /// Mrs. Larsen says she hopes her husband is somehow able to hear of her appeal and that it gives him strength and renewed hope. She says she is convinced he and his colleagues are alive and that some day she will see him again. (Signed) NEB/BEL/GE/KL 08-Nov-1999 06:44 AM EDT (08-Nov-1999 1144 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .





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