|Uganda||REBELS KIDNAP MISSIONARIES|
Two Italian missionaries were abducted by Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) rebels in northern Uganda on Saturday but released again within hours.
Fr Ponziano Velluto and a lay volunteer, Giorgio Vicariotto, were captured during a dawn raid by 40 LRA rebels on the Roman Catholic mission and a trading centre at Opit, 25 km south-east of Gulu town.
An unnamed priest told the AFP news agency: "They are well. They came back around 1230 this afternoon. Nothing happened to them. The rebels kicked them a bit with the guns, but that was all."
He added: "They were told they should speak to the BBC and CNN. They were told to tell the world that they don't want the Amnesty bill and they want to continue with the war."
The Amnesty bill, recently approved by the Ugandan Government, allows any rebel fighting the government to hand himself in without fear of prosecution.
Army sources said the rebels freed the missionaries in an effort to make a swift escape from pursuing soldiers.