News and Document archive source
copyrighted material disclaimer at bottom of page

NewsMinewar-on-terroralqaedakidnappings — Viewing Item


Peace group kidnapped in iraq { October 2005 }

Original Source Link: (May no longer be active)
   http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory?id=1357878

http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory?id=1357878

Video Shows Activists in Captivity in Iraq
New Video Shows Four Western Peace Activists in Captivity in Iraq
By CHRIS TOMLINSON
The Associated Press

BAGHDAD, Iraq - A peace group blamed the United States and Britain for the abduction of four activists shown in an insurgent video, saying the kidnapping was the direct result of the occupation of Iraq.

Meanwhile, in the central town of Baqouba, unidentified gunmen opened fire on a minibus early Wednesday, killing nine construction workers and wounding two others, the Diyala police said in a statement.

After a monthslong hiatus in the kidnapping of foreigners, television footage on Tuesday once again showed Westerners held captive: A German archaeologist bound and blindfolded knelt among masked gunmen in one video. Four frightened peace activists were shown in another blurry tape.

The latest attacks are part of a new wave of kidnappings police fear is aimed at disrupting next month's national elections.

Christian Peacemaker Teams, a group that has had activists in Iraq since October 2002, said it was saddened by the video of their workers. The workers, the group said, were working against the occupation of Iraq.

"We are angry because what has happened to our teammates is the result of the actions of the U.S. and U.K. government due to the illegal attack on Iraq and the continuing occupation and oppression of its people," the group said.

The group listed the names of those abducted as Tom Fox, 54, of Clearbrook, Va.; Norman Kember, 74, of London; James Loney, 41, of Toronto, Canada; and Harmeet Singh Sooden, 32, of Canada.

"We are some of the few internationals left in Iraq who are telling the truth about what is happening to the Iraqi people," the statement said. "We hope that we can continue to do this work and we pray for the speedy release of our beloved teammates."

On Tuesday, Al-Jazeera broadcast video of the four men held by a previously unknown group calling itself the Swords of Righteousness Brigade. The group claimed they were spies working under the cover of Christian peace activists.

Loney, a community worker, was leading the Christian group's delegation in Iraq.

The brief, blurry tape was shown the same day a television station displayed a photo of the German hostage. The kidnappers threatened to kill Susanne Osthoff and her Iraqi driver unless Germany halts all contacts with the Iraqi government.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel vowed Wednesday that her government will "not let ourselves be blackmailed" by the Osthoff's kidnappers.

Osthoff and her Iraqi driver were kidnapped Friday, and German's ARD public television said it obtained a video in which the kidnappers made their threats. The station posted a photo on its Web site showing what appears to be Osthoff and her driver blindfolded on the floor, with three masked militants standing by, one with a rocket-propelled grenade.

Merkel said nothing was yet known about the motives or background of the kidnappers but that the government was doing "everything in its power" to return her and her driver to safety.

A German newspaper, the Neue Osnabruecker Zeitung, reported that Osthoff had received a kidnap threat last summer from extremists linked to al-Qaida in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and that U.S. soldiers brought her from Mosul to Baghdad for her own safety.

Lt. Col. Barry Johnson, a U.S. military spokesman, said he was unaware of the report but if true, such a move would have been with the knowledge of the German government and "we would ultimately leave it to them" to comment.

Germany has ruled out sending troops to Iraq and opposed the U.S.-led war, but has been training Iraqi police and military outside the country.

Iraq was swept by a wave of kidnappings and beheadings of foreigners in 2004 and early 2005, but such attacks have dropped off in recent months as many Western groups have left and security precautions for those who remain have tightened. Insurgents, including al-Qaida in Iraq, have seized more than 225 people, killing at least 38.

It was unclear whether the recent kidnappings were the work of a single group or simply coincidental. However, police believed they may be part of an insurgent campaign to discredit the government and disrupt the Dec. 15 parliamentary elections.

"Terrorists will try to destabilize the situation during the election period" in order to discourage people from voting, police Maj. Falah Mohammedawi said. "They will try to do this through kidnappings, assassinations and threats to citizens. We have our complete security plan to confront this."

U.S. and Iraqi officials hope a big turnout in the December election will undermine the insurgency and improve chances for the United States and its partners to begin reducing troop levels in Iraq next year.


Associated Press reporters David Rising in Berlin, Michael Tarm in Chicago and Rob Gillies in Toronto contributed to this report.


On the Net:

Christian Peacemaker Teams: http://www.cpt.org


Copyright 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Copyright 2005 ABC News Internet Ventures



berg-beheading
Hassoun
jill_carroll
johnson-beheading
3 kidnapped in kabul { October 29 2004 }
6 egyptians 2 iraqis kidnapped in iraq { September 24 2004 }
Afghan militants threaten united nations hostages { November 1 2004 }
Aid worker hassan believed slain in video
Alqaeda says kills egypt envoy in iraq
Alqaeda website shows egyptian diplomat kidnapped { July 6 2005 }
Brits rescue peace activists held hostage in iraq
Egyptian diplomat kidnapped in iraq { July 23 2004 }
Egyptians and iraqis kidnapped { September 25 2004 }
Filipino hostage released in iraq after pullout { July 20 2004 }
Freed egyptian says treated well by iraqi captors
French journalist freed in iraq after 5 months
Hostage begs britain to pull its troops out { October 23 2004 }
Imprisoned women not freed as tensions grow
Iraqi militants free two hostages
Italian journalist held hostage pleads for life { February 16 2005 }
Italy horror at hostage execution
Japanese hostages freed { April 15 2004 }
Japanese south koreans kidnapped by iraqis { April 8 2004 }
Japanese studying depleted uranium taken hostage { April 12 2004 }
Jeffrey ake from indiana pleads for his life { April 14 2005 }
Kidnapped aid workers in afghanistan released
Kidnapped polish woman freed
Kidnappers snatch 2 americans 1 briton from homes
Marine in kidnap video charged with desertion { December 10 2004 }
Militants release video of japanese hostage { October 27 2004 }
Peace group kidnapped in iraq { October 2005 }
Philippines troops out of iraq
Ransom from italians seen as fueling crisis { September 29 2004 }
Second hostage killed in iraq
Six foreign truck drivers threatened with beheading
Tape of bigley decapitation posted on web
Third beheading was south korean who spoke arabic
Three headless bodies discovered north of baghdad
Three iraqi kurd hostages beheaded
Three members of allawi family abducted { November 10 2004 }
Video of 11 iraqi soliders executed posted on web
Video on web site shows beheading of man

Files Listed: 38



Correction/submissions

CIA FOIA Archive

National Security
Archives
Support one-state solution for Israel and Palestine Tea Party bumper stickers JFK for Dummies, The Assassination made simple