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Seychelles forces hunt rebels

Seychelles security forces searched Thursday for Army rebels who escaped when government troops crushed a 36-hour mutiny and freed over 20 hostages unharmed, diplomatic sources on the islands said.

Government troops who the day before recaptured the radio station and other key installations in the capital, Victoria, were combing parts of the main Indian Ocean island of Mahe for the few rebels still at large, the sources reported.

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Monitor correspondent Paul Van Slambrouck reports the rebellion appears to have been nonpolitical, and not aimed at toppling President Albert Rene's government. Instead, the rebel soldiers were demanding changes in the upper ranks of the military.

While Mr. Rene is considered to have control of the situation, his tiny nation of 92 islands and 63,000 people will most likely have a rugged time getting back on even keel. A government curfew was partly lifted Thursday so residents could buy food, and the international airport was reopened, allowing hundreds of European and American tourists stranded on the islands to leave.

The armed revolt is the second big jolt in less than a year. In November foreign mercenaries attempted a coup. The Seychelles relies on tourism for about 20 percent of its gross domestic product, and tourist traffic is reportedly on the decline.

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