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Last Updated: Sunday, 1 January 2006, 03:40 GMT
Seized officials freed in Haiti
Posters of a candidate in next month's presidential election in Haiti
Haiti's poll is expected to be postponed again
Two members of the Organization of American States (OAS) and one of their spouses kidnapped in Haiti have been freed, the group has said.

The employees and a Haitian woman were seized in the capital, Port-au-Prince, on Thursday afternoon.

All three had been treated well, the OAS said in a statement on its website.

The officials were working towards presidential elections, scheduled for 8 January, which are now thought to have been postponed for a fourth time.

An official announcement has not been made, but electoral workers say conditions for holding the vote have not been met.

Max Mathurin, chairman of the Provisional Electoral Council, told the Associated Press news agency that the council would meet with political leaders to explain the situation and discuss a new date for the vote.

Safe and secure

Haiti has been blighted by political and criminal violence since armed insurgents overthrew President Jean-Bertrand Aristide in 2004.

A UN peacekeeping force has been unable to restore complete order in the country.

"The Peruvian and Guatemalan members of the OAS team in charge of preparing for elections have been freed," an OAS source told the AFP news agency.

"The Haitian wife of one of them has also been released. They are safe and secure now," the source said.

The two OAS employees - a Guatemalan and a Peruvian - and the wife of one of them were abducted while driving on a road near the international airport on Thursday.

They were a short distance away from the Cite Soleil neighbourhood, where several kidnappings and shootings have taken place.

On Thursday, police said 20 people were arrested on suspicion of participating in kidnappings, and at least two hostages were freed in the operation.


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