(The Blaze/AP) — The family of a Boston pastor abducted in Egypt is appealing to his captor to release the 61-year-old man, saying he is a diabetic and the family fears for his health.
The son of Rev. Michel Louis told The Associated Press on Saturday that his father was on a church group trip to retrace Jesus’ steps through the Holy Land when he was abducted.
Along with him, a 39-year-old Boston woman named Lisa Alphonse and a tour guide were kidnapped Friday when an Egyptian Bedouin stopped their bus on a road linking Cairo to Mount Sinai.
ABC has more information on the kidnapping:
Abu-Masuh [the kidnapper] told The Associated Press that the Americans are being treated well — they’ve been given tea and a traditional Bedouin meal of lamb — but they won’t be released until his uncle, who is in an Egyptian prison, is released as well. He also said that if his uncle is not released, he will abduct more people.
“If my uncle gets 50 years (in prison), they will stay with me for 50 years. If they release him, I will release them,” he told the AP. “Tomorrow I will kidnap other nationalities and their embassies will be notified for the whole world to know.”
Officials at the American embassy in Cairo says they’re working closely with the Egyptian authorities to free the two Americans.
Lawlessness has risen dramatically in the Sinai Peninsula, particularly since the fall of President Hosni Mubarak. Kidnappings by Bedouins have become more frequent — they also traffic in guns and drugs. Al Qaeda is known to operate in the region, though they are not believed to have been involved with this kidnapping.
According to an Egyptian paper, the kidnapper added: “My uncle has heart issues, diabetes and metal plates in his back, so if he dies in prison, these hostages will be killed.”
7 News WHDH has more on the story, and an interview with the pastor’s family:
Louis’ son said the family is concerned about all three hostages and does not want to discuss communications with the U.S. government so as not to jeopardize their chances for release. However the U.S. Embassy in Cairo reportedly said in a tweet Friday that it is “in close touch with Egyptian authorities, who are doing everything they can to bring about safe release of the American tourists.”
This is the third time this year that American tourists have been kidnapped in the Sinai Peninsula, ABC relates. Two American women were kidnapped and released six hours later back in February, and in late May two American tourists were kidnapped and released the next day.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is currently in Egypt to meet with Egypt’s new Islamist president, Mohammed Morsi.