BERLIN, May 4 (Xinhua) -- The German government on Thursday denied that it had paid a ransom to kidnappers in Iraq for the release of two German hostages.
"The German government will not allow itself to be blackmailed," Reinhard Silberberg, chief of the crisis team in the German Foreign Ministry, was quoted by the German newspaper Leipziger Volkszeitung as saying.
"It is a basic principle of the government to reject ransom payments," he said.
Rene Braeunlich, 32, and Thomas Nitzschke, 28, returned home on Wednesday after being kept in captivity for 99 days in Iraq.
They were seized by Iraqi radicals on Jan. 24 in Bayji, Iraq, on their way to work on pollution control at an oil refinery.
The German foreign ministry quickly established a task force to work on the release of the hostages shortly after they were kidnapped. Reports speculated that the German government had paid ransom money to secure their release.
The release brings the total of foreign hostages who have been set free by Iraqi captors to nine, including two Germans, one American, two Canadians, one Briton, two Macedonians and one French citizen. Enditem