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WAN appeals for assistance for captured journalist Javier Espinosa

(WAN/IFEX) - The following is an appeal for assistance by WAN on behalf of
Javier Espinosa, a journalist from "El Mundo" recently captured by rebel
forces in Sierra Leone:

Javier Espinosa, a reporter for the Spanish daily "El Mundo", is being held
hostage by the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) of Sierra Leone. He was
captured by rebel forces on Monday, 25 January 1999, together with Patrick
Saint-Paul of the French daily "Le Figaro" in their joint attempt to
interview the RUF Commander in Kalaba Town.

Saint-Paul was released the same day, but the rebels have apparently stated
that they will not release Espinosa unless the BBC radio programme "Focus of
Africa" announce that the rebels have gained control of Freetown and that
they are treating civilians correctly, two statements that are considered to
be far from the truth.

WAN has written to the government of Liberia who allegedly wield
considerable influence over the RUF, asking them to use this influence to
obtain the release of this journalist, who is in grave danger.

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