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Wednesday, 29 May, 2002, 19:45 GMT 20:45 UK
Liberia rebels hand over British priest
St Dominic's Catholic Mission, Tubmanburg, Liberia
Fr Jenkins was taken during fighting in Tubmanburg
A British priest abducted by rebels in Liberia earlier this month has been released, the Roman Catholic church says.

Father Garry Jenkins has been handed over to church representatives in neighbouring Guinea.

Father Garry Jenkins pictured before his abduction
The priest had been working in Liberia since 1972
He is reported to be in good health, Bishop Michael Francis told the BBC.

The priest was freed after a delegation of Liberian Christian and Muslim leaders went to Guinea to negotiate with the rebels.

However there is no word on the fate of about 60 blind civilians whom Father Jenkins was helping when he disappeared more than two weeks ago.

Forced to flee

A spokesman for rebels of the Lurd - Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy - said they had no idea what had happened to the group.

It was not clear how Father Jenkins crossed the border into Guinea or whether the Liberian religious delegation met the rebels.

The priest was last seen in the Tubmanburg area - north of the capital Monrovia - trying to guide dozens of blind Liberians away from fierce clashes between the army and the guerrillas.

A London-based church spokeswoman said the priest had been "in the wrong place at the wrong time", with rebels taking over the area.

Church and government figures appealed for his release and the Liberian military was ordered to help find him.
Liberian President Charles Taylor
Rebels have stepped up attacks against President Taylor's government recently

Catholic institutions in Liberia have been damaged in the fighting and the priest's home was looted in an earlier attack, forcing him to flee.

Father Jenkins moved from Britain to Liberia in 1972 and was helping those worst affected by the conflict.

News, analysis and background from Liberia's conflict and escalating refugee crisis

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20 May 02 | Africa
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