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Iraq government traces location of 40 Indian kidnapped men

Posted by :) on June 21, 2014

source- india today

Mail Today Bureau  New Delhi, June 20, 2014 | UPDATED 10:18 IST

India was on Thursday grappling with the task of establishing contact with those responsible for the abduction of 40 Indian construction workers in the war- torn Iraqi city of Mosul, which has become the first foreign policy challenge of the new NDA government.

People from Iraqi Shiite Turkmen families who have fled the violence in Iraqi city of Tal Afar.


The Iraq government has traced the location of the kidnapped men, who mostly belong to Punjab and other parts of northern India, but there was little clarity on who was holding them. In an indirect expression of concern about the well- being of the men, the External Affairs Ministry spokesperson said there was ” no safety in captivity”. Crisis management group formed by the foreign ministry met twice on Thursday – with both meetings personally chaired by External Affairs MinisterSushma Swaraj – to take stock of the options and to assess the safety and security of all the Indians in Iraq.


As more details emerged from Iraq, it became apparent that the Indian workers, employed by the Baghdad- based Tariq Noor Al- Huda Construction Company, were abducted on Sunday. This was a full three days before the government confirmed the kidnappings.

Sources said the men were captured while they were apparently being moved out of the second largest city of Mosul, overrun by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria ( ISIS) last week.

The families of several kidnapped men from Punjab, too, have said that their last contact with them was on Sunday. Though media reports claimed the abducted men were safe and would even be handed over to any representative of the Indian government, the foreign ministry said the Iraqi government had confirmed they were in custody.

The initial information, based on inputs from the Red Crescent, about the kidnappings had been ” reconfirmed by the Iraq government”, foreign ministry spokesman Syed Akbaruddin said. Asked if the Indians were safe, he said: ” There is no safety captivity. Safety is when people are places where they are welcome.” He added: ” We have been informed by Iraq’s foreign ministry that they have been able to determine the location where these abducted Indian nationals are being held captive with workers of a few other nationalities.” Though he did not give details, sources said the other detained persons included Turkish and Bangladeshi nationals.

He refused to provide details of the location where the Indians are being held ” or what the Iraqis have shared with us in terms of possibilities”. Suresh Reddy, India’s former envoy to Iraq, arrived in Baghdad on Thursday to reinforce efforts to secure the release of the kidnapped men and to facilitate the evacuation of Indian nationals.

Reddy, believed to have key contacts in the government and local tribal leaders, participated in several meetings during the day.

Saleh Dabbakeh, spokesperson of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Iraq, told Mail Today that there was little information about the Indians in Mosul.


He said the 46 nurses from Kerala stranded at a teaching hospital in Tikrit were ” fine”. The parties to the conflict included the ISIS, other armed groups and tribal leaders, he said.

There are an estimated 10,000 Indians living across Iraq, but the External Affairs Ministry says only a little over 100 are in areas affected by violence, including the 40 kidnapped men.


The crisis management group, formed by the External Affairs Ministry to oversee efforts to rescue the 40 Indians abducted in Iraq and to arrange the evacuation of other Indians, is headed by Secretary ( East) Anil Wadhwa.


It was formed on Tuesday after reports emerged that nearly 90 Indians were stranded in Iraq. On Thursday, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj personally chaired two meetings of the group.

The other members of the crisis management group are Joint Secretary ( Gulf) Mridul Kumar, Joint Secretary ( WANA) Sandeep Kumar and Joint Secretary ( Americas) Vikram Doraiswami.

For more news from India Today, follow us on Twitter @indiatoday and on Facebook at facebook.com/IndiaToday


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