1st May 1997


Psychic posts a £50,000 reward

Hostage offer raised by Uri


Metal-bending psychic Uri Geller has boosted his reward for the safe return of four hostages to £50,000.
And he has offered himself as a go-between in any talks between their captors and government leaders in a bid to obtain their release.
The hostages, including Keith Mangan from Middlesbrough and fellow Briton Paul Wells, were abducted by the separatist Al-Faran guerrilla group while trekking through the Himalayas in July 1995. German Dirk Hasert and American Donald Hutchings were also captured.
Mr Geller last week offered a £35,000 reward for their safe return. Families of the four hostages said they were “very surprised” at the increase, as they had been overwhelmed by his original offer.
The reward will be published in newspapers in India and Pakistan in the hope that someone will come forward with information.
Mr Geller told The Journal: “Fifty thousand pounds is a lot of money in the UK, but it is so much more in Kashmir. You could live five times over on that amount.
“We are talking about the lives of four people here. In the advert I offered to negotiate on behalf of the captors if necessary. I have access to most of the world’s prime ministers and heads of state.”
“The families of the hostages want to know if these men are dead or alive. If they are dead then they want the bodies. I will help in any way I can. I’m not a multi-millionaire but I wanted to put up this reward.”
Mr Mangan’s wife Julie said in Pakistan yesterday she was no closer to finding him.
She and relatives of the other hostages were meeting Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in Islamabad in the hope he could assist in their search.
During their trip, the relatives have questioned officials, political leaders
and rebel groups, including leaders of Harkat-ul Ansar, a group fighting for Kashmir’s independence from India.
But the militants said they were not holding the four men and no longer knew where they might be.
There have been unconfirmed reports that the captors have killed the men, and other rumours they are being held by Indian military forces who now control the valley.
The relatives are due to meet India’s Prime Minister Inder Kumar Gujral when they return to Delhi today.


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