Italy welcomes hostage release in India

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Rome on Thursday welcomed the release of an Italian hostage in India, hailing Indian authorities and its own diplomats for the freeing of the tour guide seized while trekking nearly a month ago.

"It is an end to a risky and very complicated affair in which we were constantly involved on all levels with the aim of guaranteeing the lives of our compatriots," Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi said.

Terzi said in a statement he was 'profoundly grateful' to Italian and Indian officials for helping secure 54-year-old Paolo Bosusco's release after nearly a month in captivity and said the outcome 'fills us with satisfaction'.

Bosusco was released on Thursday by Indian Maoists after being kidnapped on March 14 along with another Italian man, who was released earlier, while the two were trekking in the forests in the eastern state of Orissa.

"I'm fine, I'm finally free," Bosusco told shortly after being released.

"Don't worry, you know I'm strong," he said in a message to his relatives.

Asked by his interviewer why he was so thin, he said: "This is because of my 28 days of 'paid holiday'.

Unfortunately the food was what it was. "The Maoists tried to give me what they could but unfortunately given the conditions in the jungle I could not eat very much. I also had malaria twice." Bosusco also called his father, Azelio, in Italy.

The father later told reporters: "I'm very emotional and now much calmer." The kidnapping was the first time the Maoists, who have waged a decades-long insurgency against India's state and national governments, have targeted foreigners.

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