Hostages: Waltzing with The Colonel

Waltzing with The Colonel

Ordinarily, the freeing of hostages is cause for celebration. But when a Frenchwoman, her Belgian companion and their young daughter were released last week after being held for 2 1/2 years by Abu Nidal's Fatah-Revolutionary Council, a Libyan-backed militant organization, there were as many questions as cheers.

Two weeks ago, Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi called for the hostages' release. After the three were set free in Beirut and safely returned to Paris, French President Francois Mitterrand expressed his "personal thanks" to Gaddafi, and French Foreign Minister Roland Dumas effusively praised the Libyan leader for his "noble and humanitarian gesture." But suspicious...

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