NEW DELHI, July 17: India's Union foreign minister Sushma Swaraj on Sunday met family members of the 39 construction workers abducted from Mosul in 2014 and expressed hope that they would be released soon as India had received information that they were probably lodged in a jail near Mosul.
According to Swaraj, the missing Indians are likely in a jail at Badush, northwest of Mosul, where fighting is still on between Islamic State and Iraqi government forces.
She said Iraqi foreign minister Ibrahim Al Jaafari is scheduled to visit India on July 24 and could bring more information about the missing men. "East Mosul has been completely freed from IS and now buildings are being sanitised and authorities are not allowing civilians to go there as there may be bombs and other explosives," Swaraj said. Fighting is on west of Mosul, she added. Minister of state for external affairs V K Singh was sent to the Gulf nation after its PM announced the liberation of Mosul from IS.
"An official who quoted intelligence sources told Gen Singh that they (workers) were deployed for hospital construction and then in a farm. From there, they were sent to a jail in Badush west of Mosul, where fighting is still on. There has been no information since then," Swaraj told reporters. She briefed family members of the abducted men, who are mostly from Punjab, about the information gathered by V K Singh.
"We called family members of all those who were abducted in Iraq. I had already met them 10 or 12 times, but this time the situation was different as the Iraqi prime minister had declared that Mosul had been freed from the IS. That very day, I asked V K Singh to go to Iraq and collect details about the Indians," Swaraj said.(TOI)
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