Friday, Oct 31, 2014

Iraq crisis: 40 Indians kidnapped in Mosul, no ransom call yet, says government

Express News Service | Posted: June 18, 2014 4:49 pm | Updated: June 18, 2014 7:45 pm

The Ministry for External Affairs has confirmed that the 40 Indians, who could not be contacted, have been kidnapped in Mosul in Iraq. The Ministry further said that the government has not received any call regarding the issue.

“We have not received any call of any nature from anyone indicating about ransom or about taking Indians in custody in Iraq,” said MEA spokesperson.

The workers, most of whom may be from Punjab and other parts of north India, were workers of a construction company in Mosul town of Iraq, External Affairs Ministry spokesman Syed Akbaruddin told reporters.He said the Indian government had no clue about the kidnappers or any concrete information about those abducted and whatever information has been gathered is through International Red Crescent and various other humanitarian organisations.

“Yes, 40 Indians, who were working with the Tariq Nur Alhuda company, have been kidnapped,” he said.

India is in touch with various humanitarian agencies, the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) and Iraqi government to gather more information about the kidnapping, he added.

This comes hours after MEA spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said that the workers were untraceable in Mosul town of strife-torn Iraq.

“There are 40 Indians in Mosul who we have not been able to contact”, he had said. He had further claimed that the violence in Iraq was not targeted at Indian nationals.

“The violence there is not targeted at Indian nationals. We are just caught in the cross-fire. At this stage we have no reports, no confirmation of any Indian national being involved in any violent accident,” the spokesperson had said.Meanwhile, the government has decided to send former envoy Suresh Reddy to Iraq to strengthen the Indian Mission in Baghdad.

Asked whether government was taking help from the US, he refused to get into operational details, saying in an evolving situation the government was not going share such information.

On 46 nurses, who are stranded in Tikrit, he said International Red Crescent had got in touch with them following a request from India. He said several nurses prefered to stay back.

“We will leave no stone unturned to assist them,” he said.

The government has decided to send former envoy to Iraq Suresh Reddy to Baghdad to strengthen the Indian Mission there.

“And we have decided to strengthen the embassy by sending a seasoned Indian diplomat Mr Suresh Reddy who will travel on Wednesday to Baghdad to assist the embassy in its efforts,” Akbaruddin said.

Over 10,000 Indians are estimated to be currently living in Iraq. The MEA Spokesperson said around 100 Indians are in violence-hit areas.

(With PTI inputs)

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