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Archive for Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Three freed captives return to United States

May 30, 2006

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— Three Americans held captive for nine days by the government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo flew into Orlando Executive Airport on Monday and were whisked away in a limousine to be reunited with their families.

Only a handful of friends and company officials, including AQMI President Frank Amodeo, were on hand to meet the private jet carrying retired Orlando Police Department Capt. Joe Robinson, former Secret Service Agent Kevin Billings, of Maitland, Fla., and security specialist Seth Taylor, of San Diego.

Robinson, 47, and Billings, 48, arrived in Congo on May 13 to provide security for Oscar Kashala, a physician with dual U.S. and Congolese citizenship who is running for president.

The two were detained, along with Taylor, their driver, when they boarded a flight for Paris on May 18.

After seizing their passports, officials released them. Hours later they were arrested at a private home.

Congo officials said the men were suspected of plotting to overthrow the west-central African government, a charge AQMI officials denied.

Company officials said the men were not abused but were exposed to unsanitary conditions.

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