Deal For Bonn Eight Close
NEWS 10/06/2039 2:47 PM ET
Deal For Bonn Eight Close
Dania Shellwether

CC BY-SA 4.0 "Kenya_2007_Quinn-Evans-and-Christy" by SIM USA | Writer image: CC0 1.0 "Untitled" by DzeeShah | Images were cropped. Images used for illustration purposes only.
Manzese, the Dar es Salaam neighborhood suspected of hiding the Bonn Eight until they were moved two years ago.
In a stunning development, it appears that The ordeal of the Bonn Eight is nearly over.

It was revealed early this morning that the German government, with a Catholic priest acting as intermediary, is close to finalizing a deal to bring home the eight women whose abduction and forced marriage shocked the world 5 years ago.

A source within the office of German Minister for Foreign Affairs Lukas Müller said that negotiations have been taking place for the past three months on an intermittent basis. Talks became more serious over the past week, the source indicated.

If true, the women will emerge from a five year ordeal which saw them abducted from Plittersdorfer Strasse train station in Bonn, then transported the length of Europe to Italy where they were smuggled via ship to Africa. They were transported to Tanzania where they have been held ever since.

Reports emerged five years ago that the women had all been married to Islamic militants. Two years later, they were moved to an undisclosed rural location.

Local Al-Shabaab leader Hammam Farooq Abu-Afrah said in 2034 that the women had been taken in retaliation for the burning of a picture of the Prophet Mohammed by conservative students in Berlin. In the aftermatch of the abduction, Muslims were attacked in dozens of cities across Europe amid speculation that the Islamic community was being used as cover by extremists for the kinds of operations which saw the Bonn Eight taken 4,000 miles without being detected.

It is not clear when the Catholic Church became involved in negotiations to free the women, but the priest was identified as Fr. Otto Schlusser and that he has extensive experience in missionary work among third world communities.

Terms of the negotiations are still unknown. The German government has not ruled out providing incentives to have the women returned.

The names of the eight women are: Emelie Kauer, Gabriele Schneider, Sonja Winzeler, Ingrid Motschenbacher, Anke Schüster, Claudia Bartel, Viktoria Ditter and Brigitte Sadowsky.

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