• Kyodo

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The Venezuelan military has rescued a 68-year-old Japanese woman who was kidnapped earlier this month, sources said Monday. The woman was unharmed.

Motoko Serizawa of Numazu, Shizuoka Prefecture, was abducted by a group of kidnappers in Maracaibo in western Venezuela on Sept. 9 while she was cleaning the front area of her house. The kidnappers took her away by car and later called her home to demand a ransom.

The Venezuelan military’s kidnap and extortion unit tracked down the group and rescued the woman early Saturday.

The military exchanged gunfire with the kidnappers during the rescue operation. Two of the five kidnappers were shot dead, the sources said. The rest escaped.

Serizawa emigrated to Venezuela about 50 years ago. She lives with her husband, Kazuo, 73, also from Numazu.

According to the Venezuelan media, the couple’s niece was kidnapped in 2000 before being released in exchange for a ransom six months later.

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