Indonesian journalists freed in Iraq

Two Indonesian journalists taken hostage in Iraq have been freed by their abductors and are on their way out from the country, the Indonesian Foreign Ministry has confirmed.

    The reporters were seized on the road from Jordan to Baghdad

    "We can now officially confirm that Meutya and Budiyanto have been released. The Indonesian embassy in Amman has received a phone call from Meutya saying they are now on their way out of Iraq," spokesman Marty Natalegawa said on Monday.

    A spokesman from the Indonesian embassy in Amman confirmed to Aljazeerra.net that the Jordanian driver who was abducted along with the reporters was on his way back to Amman with the two journalists.

    "He contacted my family at around 11am (0900 GMT) to tell us he was on his way back to Jordan, along with the two journalists," Mahmud Abu Fadala, the brother of the driver told Aljazeera.net.

     

    "The whole nation is elated by the  release of our journalists"

    Marti Nata Ligawa, spokesman,
    Indonesian Foreign Ministry

    Earlier, a member of the influential Sunni body in Iraq, the Association of Muslim Scholars, said: "The two Indonesians have been freed and will be transferred to the headquarters of the association in Baghdad, where they will have the choice of going to their embassy or leaving Iraq."

    He said the reporters, who were on assignment for Metro TV, had been freed in Ramadi.

    The two Indonesians, female reporter Meutya and cameraman Budiyanto, were abducted last week as they were driving along a road close to Ramadi en route from Jordan to Baghdad. 

    Family, ministry happy

    Meutya's sister, Fitri, told Aljazeera.net she was contacted by the Indonesian Foreign Ministry, telling her they saw a video confirming the release of the journalists.

    "I'm very glad to hear the news," she said, but added that she still had not heard from her sister and still did not know her exact whereabouts.

    Meutya's mother Metty Hafid, with
    the journalist's picture

    Earlier, the Indonesian Foreign Ministry spokesman, Marty Natalegawa, told Aljazeera.net that "the whole nation is elated by the release of our journalists".

    Ligawa added that besides working with religious leaders in Iraq, his government had worked with the United Arab Emirate's Red Crescent to facilitate the pair's exodus.

    Video of release

    Video and still photos delivered anonymously to Associated Press Television News had showed the pair shaking hands with a fighter who read a statement announcing they were being freed.

    It was not possible to determine when the video was made.

    The kidnapping had been claimed by a previously unknown armed group calling itself Jaish al-Mujahidin (Army of Warriors). 

    Metro TV confirmation

    News director of Metro TV, Don Bosco, told Aljazeera.net he was sure of the release of the journalists as he had seen the pictures that showed they were fine and read the statements of their release.

    "We are very glad to hear the news and we are going to run breaking news about their release right now on our TV station," he said, adding that the pair had been released "without any conditions".

    Bosco said it had been difficult for him to reach the journalists. "Hopefully we will be able to reach them sooner or later."

    In a statement distributed to the press, the abductors said they freed the journalists "after being assured about their identity, and offers its apologies to the Indonesian people".

    SOURCE: Aljazeera + Agencies


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