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Americans, Austrian held captive following hijacking in Iraq

Five security contractors - four Americans and an Austrian - are being held hostage after their convoy was hijacked in Iraq.

india Updated: Nov 17, 2006 16:53 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India

Five security contractors - four Americans and an Austrian - were being held hostageon Fridayafter their convoy was hijacked in Iraq, officials said.

Another nine civilians including men from India, Pakistan and the Philippines, were traveling with the convoy when it was attacked yesterday near the city of Basra, but they have since been released, according to an official with the company those kidnapped worked for, Crescent Security Group.

"We have four American security contractors and one Austrian unaccounted for," he said in a telephone interview from Kuwait, where the company is based. "All the civilian truck drivers have been accounted for, a mix of men from countries such as India, Pakistan, the Philippines."

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity at his request, refused to say how many vehicles were in the convoy, who hijacked it and how the freed captives were released, saying he didn't want to jeopardise the work that US and British forces were doing in handling the crisis.

"I'm not sure what the British and US military have put in motion, and I don't want to release too much information in case it compromises whatever they may be doing. But we're working very closely with them to get this revolved," the official said.

The Crescent Security Group company works mostly in Iraq, and its operations are based in Kuwait. Many of its managers and employees are American.

In Basra, Capt. Tane Dunlop, a spokesman for British forces, said the hijacking occurred yesterday at 1 pm in Safwan, an Iraqi city near the Kuwait border, and that four Americans and an Austrian were still being held.

First Published: Nov 17, 2006 16:53 IST