The two Italians reportedly were kidnapped to force the Indian government to cease anti-Maoist operations in return for their release.
The Italians were accompanied by a cook and a driver. The two Indians and the vehicle they were traveling in were later released by the rebels.
COMMENT: Local news outlets received an audio tape earlier today (March 18) in which the leader of the rebels in Orissa, Sabyasachi Panda, demanded that the state government stop all armed operations against the rebels.
In the tape, Mr. Panda was also quoted as demanding that the government release Maoist fighters from prison and disband all police and paramilitary camps.
The rebels, inspired by Chinese revolutionary leader Mao Zedong, have been fighting against Indian security forces in several Indian states for more than four decades demanding land and jobs for farmers and the poor. They are particularly active in Orissa, which is one of India's poorest states.
An estimated 2,000 people, including including police, militants and civilians, have been killed in the conflict between police and rebels across India in recent years.