US oil executive freed after Beirut kidnapping

Armed Shiite Muslims kidnapped an American oil executive and two Lebanese colleagues but released them unharmed after a Shiite leader intervened.

Thomas Anderson, managing director of Caltex Lebanon and vice-president of Medreco, the Mediterranean Refining Company, was snatched as he drove from his home in Beirut to the Zahrani refinery, a company spokesman said.

A source close to the kidnap said the kidnappers were Shiite Muslim workers concerned that a planned expansion at the refinery would put Shiites in the minority.

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