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India: Iraqis know where abducted workers held

June 19, 2014

NEW DELHI (AP) — The Iraqi government has determined where 40 Indian construction workers abducted near Mosul are being held captive with workers of a few other nationalities, an official said Thursday.

Syed Akbaruddin, the spokesman for India’s External Affairs Ministry, declined to say more on the location or possible future action. No ransom has been demanded, he said.

Over the past week, militants have overrun Mosul and seized wide swathes of territory as they storm toward Baghdad.

It was not immediately clear when the Indian workers were abducted.

About 10,000 Indians work and live in Iraq, but only about 100 are in violent, insecure areas, he said. That includes 46 Indian nurses working in a Tikrit hospital, but Akbaruddin said they were all safe.

The abducted Indians were mostly from northern states including Punjab and had been working for the Tariq Noor al-Huda construction company.

Twenty-four relatives of those abducted met with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj in New Delhi and expressed relief that no harm has been caused to their dear ones.

Gurprender Singh, 29, said she was deeply worried about her brother Manjinder Singh. “Until June 15 we had information that they were fine. Ever since, there has been no contact with them or information regarding their whereabouts.”

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