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Indonesia confirms two women hostages taken in Iraq JAKARTA - Two Indonesian women working for a British company in Iraq were among 10 people kidnapped by an Islamic militant group, officials in Jakarta confirmed on Friday. Indonesian foreign ministry officials said the women, who were pictured wearing Muslim headscarves in video shot by the militants and aired on Arabic television, were from Jakarta.
"They are Indonesians," spokesman Marty Natalegawa told AFP. Senior foreign ministry official Ferry Adamhar confirmed the women's identities as Rosidah and Rafikan. Adamhar told Elshinta radio that the women were working for a British company but it was not known in what capacity. The Indonesian women were captured alongside six Iraqis and two Lebanese working for an electrical equipment firm, Al-Jazeera television said.
Four of the presumed captives, all men, were shown in the video, with the captors pointing machine-guns at them. The channel later aired more footage showing the two women. Al-Jazeera said the kidnappers had not made any demands so far. In August engineer Fahmi Ahmad, 27, became the first Indonesian killed in Iraq since the start last year of the US-led invasion. He was attacked in the northern town of Mosul while working for a London-based contractor.
Natalegawa said then that only 13 Indonesians were known to be still in Iraq, including eight students and two Indonesian embassy employees married to Iraqis. Indonesia's manpower minister, Jacob Nuwa Wea, said the women had apparently sought work in Iraq without government consent. "We have forbidden our workers from working there because it's difficult for us to give them protection," he said. "I am extremely concerned that something like this could happen."
He said the women could have been working "unofficially" in Iraq, but appealed for their freedom. "We expect that our two hostages should be freed. They have nothing to do with war. They are trying to get food," he said. The Kompas daily newspaper quoted Foreign Minister Hassan Wirayuda as saying he hoped they would be quickly freed because of Indonesia's opposition to last year's US-led occupation of Iraq.
"We hope this kidnapping was a mistake because we have no interest in the invasion of Iraq," Wirayuda said. Many of the insurgents fighting US-led forces who have taken foreigners hostage in Iraq in the past few months have demanded that their employers stop operating in the country. Ransoms were paid in some cases to secure releases. The latest group to manifest itself appears to be an offshoot of the so-called Islamic Army in Iraq, which has been holding two French journalists since August 20.



Posted in Terrorism @ 01 October 2004 00:02 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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