Four Coptic Christians, including a child, who were kidnapped on Monday in the Egyptian town of Manfalout in Assiut, have returned home safely after a ransom was paid, according to the independent Cairo newspaper Watani.
The kidnappers initially demanded a ransom of EGP 500,000 ($56,000) or else they would kill the Copts, the paper said. This was eventually negotiated down to EGP 150,000 (£16,000) which was paid during a successful exchange.
One of the victims' relatives, who asked not to be named, told Watani that the Assiut security deputy chief had advised him to pay the ransom money in order to ensure the safety of the kidnapped Copts, adding that once the kidnappers were later caught the money would be found and returned to those who paid it.
Watani reported that two of the kidnap victims, brothers Emad and Ramy Lamei, who work as construction workers in Cairo, had received a phone call offering them a job in Assiut.
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