N. military observer mission in the former Soviet republic. The other U.N. personnel held by the rebels were a Ukrainian, two Swiss nationals and an interpreter. The U.N. officials were seized by an armed group led by Rizvon Sadirov, who once fought for the country`s Islamic opposition against the secular government but whose loyalties are now unclear. The group is demanding safe passage for its members based in neighbouring Afghanistan. The U.N. has demanded the immediate release of the hostages. The United Nations Mission of Observers in Tajikistan (UNMOT) has about 45 military personnel in the republic to observe a fragile peace agreement aimed at ending a bitter four-year civil war. A ceasefire agreed between the government and the guerrillas has held for nearly two months and further peace talks are due to be held on February 26 in Moscow. Last December, Sadirov`s group took 23 people hostage, including seven U.N. observers, to demand the release of his brother. All the hostages were later released.