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Witness
Vanished
An unknown fate for one Iraqi-born American who answered US government calls.
Last Modified: 11 Jun 2009 11:03 GMT

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Josh Rushing

Aban Elias was born and raised in Iraq. He and his family left Iraq and moved to America to avoid persecution from Saddam Hussein. In the US, Aban became an American citizen and raised his family in Denver, Colorado. His wife is a Jordanian-American and together, they have three young children.

Aban worked for the Colorado Department of Transportation before opening his own small construction company. Shortly after American troops took control of Iraq, the US government put out a call for contractors to help rebuild Iraq. Having the advantage of the Iraqi language and construction skills, Aban decided to answer the call to help rebuild his home country.

After being in Iraq for only several weeks, Aban was kidnapped in May 2004. His captors released a tape of a blindfolded Aban pleading for his life to Arabic-language TV station Al Arabiya. The footage was then aired in the US on MSNBC.

Throughout the following months the American networks reported the story, and it was a big local story in Denver. The Congresswoman from Aban's district in Denver and the Governor of Colorado promised Aban's family that they would try their hardest to find some answers. But as days turned into months, with no further news of Aban, the local and national media began to forget about the story.

Aban's family are hopeful that he is still alive. But mixed with their sorrow is anger and confusion.  How can an American citizen, helping rebuild Iraq in the name of his adopted country, be so easily forgotten?

Source:
Al Jazeera
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