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Boston church prays for pastor abducted in Egypt

By Bizuayehu Tesfaye and Aya Batrawy
Associated Press / July 15, 2012
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BOSTON—While family and church members prayed Sunday for the Boston Pentecostal pastor kidnapped with two others in Egypt, their abductor said he has had conversations with intelligence officials about their release.

Jirmy Abu-Mashu told The Associated Press he kidnapped the Rev. Michel Louis and two others off a bus on a road between Cairo and Mount Sinai on Friday, and is demanding police release his uncle from prison. He said his uncle was jailed after refusing to pay a bribe to police.

He said two intelligence officials came to his home Saturday to negotiate the captives' release. During that meeting, he said, he relocated the pastor and the two other captives -- a 39-year-old Boston woman who was traveling with the same church group and a tour guide. He said he returned the three to his home when the officials left.

The 61-year-old pastor, who is diabetic, left his medicine on the bus and security officials will have to help with getting it, Abu-Mashu said. He said Michel was tired and was sleeping a lot. He would not allow the AP to talk with the Americans.

Abu-Mashu also said that his imprisoned uncle is diabetic and claimed his relative was not getting the medical assistance he needs.

Meanwhile, a senior U.S. official said Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton brought up the case of the two kidnapped Americans when she met with her Egyptian counterpart in Cairo on Saturday.

Louis' son said Sunday his father had natural medicine to treat his diabetes when he was taken, but he had no other information about his condition.

The Rev. Jean Louis said he does not know if or when his father may be released, and he is concerned about his safety and health.

He spoke to reporters after a church service in Boston's Dorchester neighborhood to pray for the captives. He said his father was on a church trip with 23 other members of the clergy and worshippers when he was abducted.

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Batrawy contributed to this report from Cairo, Egypt.

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