Feuding rightist militias in Northern Lebanon exchanged two batches of hostages on Wednesday (5 March) which had been held by rival factions since October.
GV Hostages at exchange point being greeted by friends and relations
SCU Hostages (white shots) being greeted
SV AND GV Cars carrying hostages surrounded by people (4 shots)
SCU Mediators Francois Sabra (on right) and Bishop Nosrallah Sfeir talking to those assembled and about to enter car
GV Army check-point
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Background: Feuding rightist militias in Northern Lebanon exchanged two batches of hostages on Wednesday (5 March) which had been held by rival factions since October. The swap of the seventeen hostages was made under Red Cross supervision.
SYNOPSIS: The exchange was made by Falangist Party Militia and the Syrian-backed Marada Brigade of former President Suleiman Franjieh. The Falangists handed over six Franjieh supporters for eleven of their own men.
The exchange came just a few hours before Lebanese President Elias Sarkis was due to make a speech setting out plans for achieving national reconciliation.
Rightist sources said that Falangist Party Deputy, Edmond Rizk, kidnapped last month, would be released in a couple of days. These hostages were snatched in a wave of kidnappings in the North last October. As many as one hundred and fifty people were abducted by each side but most were subsequently released. Mediators Francois Sabra and Bishop No???allah joined the happy reunions. The feud between the two groups dates back to a massacre of more than thirty Falangist supporters in June 1978.