Dutch Priest Reported Abducted, Fourth Kidnaps In Week
BEIRUT, Lebanon (AP) _ A Dutch Roman Catholic priest is missing in the Bekaa Valley of eastern Lebanon and reports in Dutch newspapers Tuesday said he was believed kidnapped.
Three other foreigners were kidnapped in Beirut last week.
The kidnap victims reported earlier were an American, Associated Press correspondent Terry A. Anderson, and Britons Geoffrey Nash and Brian Levick.
The priest, identified only as N. Kluiters, 43, originally from Delft, the Netherlands, was last seen in the Bekaa Valley as he drove near his parish last Thursday. Dutch newspapers quoted his Jesuit colleagues as saying they believed he had been kidnapped.The newspapers said Kluiters had worked in Lebanon for 10 years.
The three other reported kidnappings all took place in mostly Moslem west Beirut. Briton Geoffrey Nash, 60, a metallurgist working for the Lebanese government, was seized on Thursday. Another Briton, Brian Levick, 59, a businessman, was abducted Friday. And on Saturday, Anderson, 37, the chief Middle East correspondent for the AP, was grabbed at gunpoint on a west Beirut street.
On Sunday, the organization known as Jihad Islami, or Islamic Holy War, claimed responsibility for Anderson’s kidnapping, as well as those of Levick and Nash. There was no way to confirm the claim, which was made in an anonymous telephone call Sunday to a Western news agency.
Islamic Holy War, believed to be composed of Shiite Moslems loyal to Iran’s Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, also has claimed it holds four other missing Americans - U.S. diplomat William Buckley, Presbyterian minister the Rev. Benjamin Weir, American University librarian Peter Kilburn, and the Rev. Lawrence Jenco, a Catholic priest and relief worker.
Those kidnappings took place last year.
U.N. Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar appealed ″on humanitarian grounds″ Tuesday for the release of Anderson and others kidnapped in Lebanon.
Levick’s wife, Ann, broadcast an appeal Tuesday on Lebanon’s government radio that referred to a claim, purportedly by Islamic Holy War, that the Shiite group had kidnapped Levick, Nash and Anderson ″within the framework of our continuing operations against America and its agents.″
″Why?″ she asked. ″My husband does not deal in political matters. He is a businessman - nothing else ...″
She said she thought the kidnapping might be a mistake, adding: ″I hope you reconsider and return him to me.″