Kidnappers threaten to kill German hostages

14th February 2006, Comments 0 comments

14 February 2006, CAIRO - The kidnappers of two German engineers in Iraq have threatened to kill them, al-Arabiya television reported Monday.

14 February 2006

CAIRO - The kidnappers of two German engineers in Iraq have threatened to kill them, al-Arabiya television reported Monday.

The Arabic television channel showed a video from the kidnappers showing the two hostages kneeling on the ground while holding up their identity papers. Behind them stood armed men dressed in black and masked.

The kidnappers made no demands and set no deadline, but spoke of a "a last signal".

The video was not audible on al-Arabiya. A speaker on the broadcaster said only that the kidnappers had threatened to kill the men. The recording date shown on the video was last Saturday.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who was in Jerusalem on a visit to Israel, described the video as the "shocking evidence of the humiliation of human beings". He said his staff in Berlin were analysing the video.

"We're doing what we can," he said of the efforts to free the men as quickly as possible.

Rene Braeunlich, 31, and Thomas Nitzschke, 28, both from Leipzig, were kidnapped on their way to do work at a detergents factory in Bayji, north of Baghdad on January 24.

In a previous message, the kidnappers threatened to kill the men unless the German government severed all contact with the Iraqi government. Berlin said in recent weeks that it has repeatedly tried in vain to make contact with the kidnappers.

It remains unclear whether the kidnappers are acting out of political or monetary motives.

The partner of one of the captives said Monday she was at least relieved he was alive.

Sindy Brost, 29, who has waited helplessly for news of her partner Rene Braeunlich since his capture, said of the video, "It was a terrible shock again." But the positive side was that he was alive.

She spoke at a vigil attended by nearly 400 people in the eastern German city of Leipzig. Friends and work colleagues of the two men say they will keep holding vigils until the hostages are free.

Braeunlich, 31, and Thomas Nitzschke, 28, both from Leipzig, were kidnapped on their way to do engineering work in a detergents factory in Bayji, north of Baghdad, on January 24.

Lutheran pastor Christian Fuehrer of Leipzig's Church of St. Nicholas read aloud letters of solidarity from around Germany and said of the video, "It's a sign of hope. They are both still alive."

He said it also suggested the abductors might be ready to talk, adding, "Once a dialogue gets going, we hope this will have a happy ending."

DPA

Subject: German news

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