Kidnappers extend deadline for abducted Austrians, says government
( dpa )- Austria's government was Monday trying to secure the release of two Austrians kidnapped in North Africa after their kidnappers extended an ultimatum for an indefinite period.
An emergency crisis management group was working night and day, a spokesman for the Foreign Ministry said, according to the Austrian news agency APA.
The kidnappers had earlier extended by a week an ultimatum for release which should have expired on Sunday.
The kidnappers, who belong to the terrorist organization al-Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb , had demanded a ransom payment and the release of five members of their group from Algeria and Tunisia.
The hostages, Wolfgang Ebner , 51, and Andrea Kloiber , 43, have been missing since February 18 when they were on a desert tour in southern Tunisia.
It remains unclear where the kidnappers have taken the pair, but they are believed to be in Mali.
Austria's special envoy had on Saturday ruled out ransom payments and spoke of a "difficult situation." But he expressed confidence that the hostages would be released unharmed.