Journalist kidnapped in Iraq as friends pray for peace workers - news from ekklesia

By staff writers
January 7, 2006

Journalist kidnapped in Iraq as friends pray for peace workers

-07/01/06

As friends and supporters gathered in the centre of Birmingham and London to call for the release of Christian peace activist Norman Kember and three colleagues held hostage in Iraq, details began to emerge of a fresh kidnapping of a Western journalist.

The woman, unnamed at the moment, is American. She and her driver, and Iraqi Christian, were ambushed on their way to interview prominent Sunni politician Adnan al-Dulaimi, head of the Iraqi Consensus Front.

A guard outside Dulaimi's office said he heard gunshots a short distance away. Rushing to the scene, he found the translator, badly wounded.

The man, Alin Ghazi Jack, was able to confirm that a US journalist had been kidnapped. He died shortly afterwards.

An Iraqi defence ministry official confirmed: "A Western journalist was abducted by armed men in the Adl district of western Baghdad and her translator found dead."

The US Embassy says that it is investigating the situation. Iraqi soldiers have cordoned off the area. Thirteen others have died in further armed incidents today.

There has been an upswing in insurgency activities since the recent Iraqi elections, the full results of which are still awaited. Early results suggest that a Shia coalition is ahead.

Iraq's National Security Adviser Mowaffaq al-Rubaie says Iraq's security forces are close to being able to deal with the insurgency.

British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw has promised full international backing for a government of national unity in Iraq. He was speaking in the Iraqi capital after meeting political leaders including Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari.

Mr Jaafari reaffirmed that the next government would be enlarged to include all the main parties.

More than 200 foreigners have been abducted by gangs seeking ransom or armed groups trying to force foreign governments pull out their occupying troops from Iraq. Many have been safely released, but around 50 have been killed.

Iraq was the most dangerous place for journalists in 2005 and the deadliest conflict for media workers in the last 24 years, according to a recent report from the US-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).

ìThe war in Iraq might lead one to think that reporters are losing their lives on the battlefield. But the fact is that three out of four journalists killed around the world are singled out for murder, and their killers are rarely brought to justice. Itís a terrible indictment of governments that let warlords and criminals dictate the news their citizens can see and hear,î said CPJ Executive Director Ann Cooper.

Iraq accounted for 22 deaths in 2005, or nearly half of the yearís total, the CPJ found.

Meanwhile, relatives and friends of Norman Kember, Tom Fox, James Loney and Harmeet Singh Sooden ñ all volunteers with Christian Peacemaker Teams in Iraq ñ are anxiously awaiting news about them.

There has been no directed reported contact with their captors, the Swords of Truth Brigades. But international Muslim support exists for the four, who oppose the occupation and had been assisting detainees.

The inter-faith vigils in Britain have matched similar events in Palestine, Canada, New Zealand.

In the US Christian Peacemaker Teams are organising an Epiphany vigil outside the White House. They have asked for a meeting with President George W. Bush.

[Also on Ekklesia: Regular updates on FaithInSociety weblog; News: Anti-war MP takes politics and religion into Big Brother 06/01/06; Birmingham inter-faith vigil for Kember and Iraq peace workers 06/01/06; Norman Kember's wife in new TV appeal to Iraq captors 06/01/06; New London vigil for Norman Kember announced 04/01/06; Christian Peacemaker Teams seek meeting with President Bush 04/01/06 (includes complete index of related articles on this site); Speculation continues over kidnapped peace workers in Iraq 04/01/06; Middle East Christians and Muslims renew plea for Iraq captives 01/01/06; Baptists urge support for Norman Kember 31/12/05; Vigils go on for Christian Peacemaker Teams hostages in Iraq 30/12/05. Key book: Patricia Gates-Brown (ed.), Getting in the Way: Stories from Christian Peacemaker Teams, Herald Press; All faiths candlelit vigil in London for Norman Kember; Kember supporters urged to keep hope alive; Christians and Muslims show continued support for Norman Kember; Former Guantanamo Bay detainees call for release of Christian peace workers]

Journalist kidnapped in Iraq as friends pray for peace workers

-07/01/06

As friends and supporters gathered in the centre of Birmingham and London to call for the release of Christian peace activist Norman Kember and three colleagues held hostage in Iraq, details began to emerge of a fresh kidnapping of a Western journalist.

The woman, unnamed at the moment, is American. She and her driver, and Iraqi Christian, were ambushed on their way to interview prominent Sunni politician Adnan al-Dulaimi, head of the Iraqi Consensus Front.

A guard outside Dulaimi's office said he heard gunshots a short distance away. Rushing to the scene, he found the translator, badly wounded.

The man, Alin Ghazi Jack, was able to confirm that a US journalist had been kidnapped. He died shortly afterwards.

An Iraqi defence ministry official confirmed: "A Western journalist was abducted by armed men in the Adl district of western Baghdad and her translator found dead."

The US Embassy says that it is investigating the situation. Iraqi soldiers have cordoned off the area. Thirteen others have died in further armed incidents today.

There has been an upswing in insurgency activities since the recent Iraqi elections, the full results of which are still awaited. Early results suggest that a Shia coalition is ahead.

Iraq's National Security Adviser Mowaffaq al-Rubaie says Iraq's security forces are close to being able to deal with the insurgency.

British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw has promised full international backing for a government of national unity in Iraq. He was speaking in the Iraqi capital after meeting political leaders including Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari.

Mr Jaafari reaffirmed that the next government would be enlarged to include all the main parties.

More than 200 foreigners have been abducted by gangs seeking ransom or armed groups trying to force foreign governments pull out their occupying troops from Iraq. Many have been safely released, but around 50 have been killed.

Iraq was the most dangerous place for journalists in 2005 and the deadliest conflict for media workers in the last 24 years, according to a recent report from the US-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).

'The war in Iraq might lead one to think that reporters are losing their lives on the battlefield. But the fact is that three out of four journalists killed around the world are singled out for murder, and their killers are rarely brought to justice. It's a terrible indictment of governments that let warlords and criminals dictate the news their citizens can see and hear,' said CPJ Executive Director Ann Cooper.

Iraq accounted for 22 deaths in 2005, or nearly half of the year's total, the CPJ found.

Meanwhile, relatives and friends of Norman Kember, Tom Fox, James Loney and Harmeet Singh Sooden - all volunteers with Christian Peacemaker Teams in Iraq - are anxiously awaiting news about them.

There has been no directed reported contact with their captors, the Swords of Truth Brigades. But international Muslim support exists for the four, who oppose the occupation and had been assisting detainees.

The inter-faith vigils in Britain have matched similar events in Palestine, Canada, New Zealand.

In the US Christian Peacemaker Teams are organising an Epiphany vigil outside the White House. They have asked for a meeting with President George W. Bush.

[Also on Ekklesia: Regular updates on FaithInSociety weblog; News: Anti-war MP takes politics and religion into Big Brother 06/01/06; Birmingham inter-faith vigil for Kember and Iraq peace workers 06/01/06; Norman Kember's wife in new TV appeal to Iraq captors 06/01/06; New London vigil for Norman Kember announced 04/01/06; Christian Peacemaker Teams seek meeting with President Bush 04/01/06 (includes complete index of related articles on this site); Speculation continues over kidnapped peace workers in Iraq 04/01/06; Middle East Christians and Muslims renew plea for Iraq captives 01/01/06; Baptists urge support for Norman Kember 31/12/05; Vigils go on for Christian Peacemaker Teams hostages in Iraq 30/12/05. Key book: Patricia Gates-Brown (ed.), Getting in the Way: Stories from Christian Peacemaker Teams, Herald Press; All faiths candlelit vigil in London for Norman Kember; Kember supporters urged to keep hope alive; Christians and Muslims show continued support for Norman Kember; Former Guantanamo Bay detainees call for release of Christian peace workers]

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