BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) – The head of the Iraqi Human Rights Association in Berlin appealed Monday for the release of two German engineers were taken hostages in Iraq last month.
Thomas Nitschke and Rene Braeunlich were seized Jan. 24 by armed men in military uniform while on their way to work at a detergent plant near the oil refinery in Beiji, 250 kilometers (155 miles) north of Baghdad.
“I appeal to the kidnappers in the name of Islam to free them immediately because the German government is against the war as are the German people who demonstrated against it,” said Faridon Abdul-Majid, who came to Iraq to appeal for their release.
Abdul-Majid said that there are thousands of Iraqi families live in German and the German government offers them good health and humanitarian services.
“We coordinated with the German human rights organizations to treat 65 disabled children in Germany,” he said. “Those hostages are civilian engineers and have nothing to do with the coalition forces. Their abduction will affect the reputation of Islam and Iraqi families in Germany.”
Abdul-Majid said the engineers were in Iraq to work at a factory in Beiji which would provide jobs to about 300 Iraqis.
At least five foreigners were kidnapped in January: the Germans, two Kenyan engineers and American journalist Jill Carroll.
Carroll’s kidnappers have threatened to kill her unless all Iraqi women are freed from custody. The U.S. military released five Iraqi women Thursday but said the move was unrelated to the kidnappers’ demand.
Nothing has been heard from the two Kenyans since they were seized in an ambush on their convoy in Baghdad on Jan. 18.