Kuwait stalling on Iraq captives

A leading mediator trying to secure the release of three Kenyans captured by an Iraqi group tells a newspaper their Kuwaiti employer is "foot-dragging".

    The prominent Kenyan paper says a ransom may be paid

    According to Kenyan newspaper The Nation, chief mediator Shaikh Hisham al-Dulaymi believes the Kuwaiti Gulf Link (KGL) transport company is responsible for the delay in the captives' release.

    "The Kuwaiti company is taking too long to decide on the kidnappers' demands," he told the paper.

    However, he pledged to resume talks once KGL agreed to fulfill the captors' demands.

    On 21 July, a previously unknown group calling itself "the Black Banners" announced on a videotape sent to Aljazeera that they had seized six foreigners in Iraq.

    "We announce we have captured three Kenyans, three Indians and one Egyptian. We tell the company to withdraw and close its offices in Iraq," said one of the masked men appearing on the videotape. 
       

    The captors also demanded that India, Kenya and Egypt withdraw their citizens from Iraq. None of the three countries are part of the US-led military force in Iraq but many of their nationals work as drivers and contractors.

     

    Delegation of wives

     

    Al-Dulaymi is hoping to lead a delegation of mediators, including the wives of the seized men, to Kuwait in the coming week.

     

    The paper said the wives had recently applied for and received their passports, enabling them to travel to the Middle East to help secure their husbands' release.

     

    There have been unconfirmed reports that KGL may pay "millions of dollars" to secure the release of its personnel in Iraq, the paper said.

    SOURCE: Aljazeera + Agencies


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