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Ganal talks to ABC7 after being captured in Egypt

February 5, 2012 2:31:54 PM PST
Two Bay Area women who were abducted by gun-toting Bedouin tribesmen in Egypt on Friday are free and due to return to the U.S. Tuesday. ABC7 spoke by phone with Patti Ganal of Los Gatos who says their captors were actually very polite, even treating them like family.

Ganal, 66, of Los Gatos seen on the right and Norma Supe, 63, of Union City were on a Christian pilgrimage in Egypt when the tour bus they were on was stopped by armed Bedouins near the foot of Mt. Sinai. Ganal told ABC7 about their six hour captivity.

"The guys, the Bedouin guys, came out of the truck and a van. They have guns, but they're not going to point the guns to us," said Ganal. "The Bedouin captors wanted three of us of my group to go down. Then I said I should be the one to go down because I'm the leader of the group. So I went down and they said they want more. They want my husband, but my husband is physically challenged so my guide said, 'No, you can't take him.' They treat us like family and they reassured in a very nice way that we're just going to commandeer this tour and we want you to know that we are not going to hurt you. We are going to continue the tour and then we want you to know we won't hurt you."

Their captors wanted to exchange the tourists for some of their tribe who were arrested.

"They were hoping that you know, doing what they were did they will accelerate and have them released," said Ganal.

Ganal said at another stop she spoke to her captors about God and family, while the Bedouins fed them.

"We drove like two hours away from where they picked us up and then they built a fire and the brought something to snack on like dates and cheeses and bread that they baked," said Ganal.

After driving their captors around for about six hours and feeding them again, the men negotiated with Egyptian police who agreed to release the tribesmen. The woman were released unharmed.

"They were very nice, very good and I think it depends on how you talk to them. I really believe it was God that just talked to them to their hearts," said Ganal.

Ganal says she has led Christian pilgrimage tours to Egypt for years. The Egyptian tourism industry lost more than $4 billion last year. Ganal says she told authorities that if they want to get tourists back, they have to provide security so this never happens again. Ganal and Supe are due back Tuesday.


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