Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Four Polish trekkers safe and sound: NTB

The Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) has said that four Polish trekkers who were earlier presumed missing along the trekking route of Jiri-Lukla since March 23 are safe and sound.

Issuing a press statement Monday evening, the NTB said the Polish trekkers were found safe in Lukla of the eastern district of Solukhumbu.

“As per the Tourism Crisis Response Action Unit member Mr. Ang Tshering Sherpa's direct conversation with one of the members of the said Polish team in Lukla, the fact has been established that they were not abducted. Due to the remote nature of trekking trails where no communication facilities were available they could not communicate further after the 23rd March when they had some misunderstanding with locals en-route to their destination,” the statement said.

Saying that the reports of ‘abduction’ [by Maoists] was of the Polish nationals were misleading, the NTB said, “This prolonged suspense without any information had indeed caused misinformation as apparent in the news.”

Earlier this afternoon, district committee member of the CPN (Maoist) in Solukhumbu district, Samul, told Nepalnews over the phone that “it is against his party's policy to abduct trekkers” and that the Polish trekkers were not taken into control by his party.

“Nepal Tourism Board will update more information after the arrival of all the four Polish trekking team in Kathmandu. This fact has once again established that Nepal has always been a safe destination for tourists despite some baseless and misleading news and views,” the NTB release said.

Earlier, a Kathmandu-based language group, Nepal Esperanto Association (NEA), had said that two of the Esparanto-speaking members of the Polish trekking group had called them saying they were “abducted” by the rebels. The Association, however, said it wasn’t aware of demands made by the rebels, if any.

The group had left Kathmandu on March 21 and was on its way to Lukla in the Everest region via Jiri of Dolakha district—to the east of capital, Kathmandu.

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