CARE head in Iraq kidnapped

It goes from very bad to worse. … now… …one of the best known aid workers in Iraq, Margaret Hassan of CARE International, was kidnapped.

Hassan, who is married to an Iraqi, was taken from her home in the Khadra neighborhood of West Baghdad, CARE officials confirmed. She is not a Uk citizen anymore but an Iraqi citizen since marriage.

Hassan is the head of CARE’s Iraq operation and has been in Iraq for about 30 years. “We do want to stress that she is an Iraqi national, not a Briton. She has been living there for many years,” a CARE International spokeswoman told news services.

And in another kidnapping case, it seems a Google search ‘saved’ this Australian reporter’s life:

QUOTE: [John Martinkus was working for Australia’s SBS Television
An Australian journalist kidnapped in Iraq was freed after his captors checked the popular internet search engine Google to confirm his identity.
John Martinkus was seized in Baghdad on Saturday, the first Australian held hostage in Iraq since the US-led invasion. But his captors agreed to release him after they were convinced he was not working for the CIA or a US contractor. “They Googled him and then went onto a web site – either his own or his book publisher’s web site, I don’t know which one – and saw that he was who he was, and that was instrumental in letting him go, I think, or swinging their decision,” he told AP news agency.]

Shosei Koda was being held by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi’s rebels.

Body Is Said to Be Japanese Held by Rebels
Published: October 30, 2004

BAGHDAD, Iraq, Oct. 29 -" A body believed to be that of a Japanese traveler in Iraq who had been seized by militants was found Friday near Balad, north of the capital, according to the Japanese Foreign Ministry.
The traveler, Shosei Koda, 24, was being held by the group led by the Jordanian militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. In a video released Wednesday, the group threatened to behead Mr. Koda if the Japanese government did not start withdrawing its forces within 48 hours. The Japanese government had refused to comply."
"In Japan, an image has emerged in recent days of Mr. Koda, a 24-year-old former housepainter, as a na

You forgot to add, “Discuss.”

They are still unclear about the status of the Japanese backpacker. The body they found is evidently an Iraqi.

Reuters, Oct. 30, 2004[quote]Japan said a body found in Iraq and flown to Kuwait for identification Saturday was most probably not that of a Japanese hostage, and officials vowed to make every effort for his release.[/quote]

There are a lot of things in this war that are not clear. The hostage taking seems to be part of a drive to gain some power. If the terrorists have a hostage, they can try to negotiate, and at the very least they gain some publicity for their actions. I am wondering why a Japanese backpacker would be traveling in Iraq. Surely they’d know it’s a dangerous situation.

Well, the reports say he’s 24 years old. It certainly sounds as if he’s adventurous. I hope he makes it and gets to have some more adventures.

My apologies for the above post. It appears I hit the ‘edit’ button instead of the ‘quote’ button.

Another factor for consideration.

In these conflicts there is a trend of mercenary advantage that develops. By this I mean - the taking of hostages for monetary gain. This is a well established business, hostage taking, in certain parts of the world. And it occurs frequently in areas of civil or international conflict - war zones.

Groups, with no particular political ideology, take a hostage for ransom purposes. Or, they sell the hostage to political groups who wish to gain a higher media profile.

This is another factor that makes this situation a bit more complex. It appears that this unwary Nippon was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Well, the reports say he’s 24 years old. It certainly sounds as if he’s adventurous. I hope he makes it and gets to have some more adventures.[/quote]
Sorry, they’ve confirmed that a decapitated body they found is his. … aq_hostage

Reuters, Oct. 30, 04

It’s bad news not only for the man’s friends and family, but also for humanitarian efforts in Iraq. The first dead body they looked at was not his, but the second one turned out to be the body of the backpacker. Japan’s policy to stay in Iraq extends only until mid-December. This killing may complicate the decision they must soon make - should Japan continue humanitarian and reconstruction work in Iraq.

Thanks for the info, MaPoSquid. It’s too bad. But again, the whole hostage business is too bad.