Four Iraqis working for French aid group killed

3rd August 2004, Comments 0 comments

SAMAWA, Iraq, Aug 3 (AFP) - Four Iraqis working for a French aid group in the southern city of Samawa were killed by "militiamen" in the area of Najaf further north in a case of mistaken identity, their employer said Tuesday.

SAMAWA, Iraq, Aug 3 (AFP) - Four Iraqis working for a French aid group in the southern city of Samawa were killed by "militiamen" in the area of Najaf further north in a case of mistaken identity, their employer said Tuesday.

The workers were "summarily executed" on Friday by militiamen after they were mistakenly implicated in a car bombing, the Paris-based Agency for Technical Cooperation and Development (ACTED) said.

The four men were driving near Najaf en route to Karbala when a car bomb went off and were "immediately arrested by militiamen at the scene," ACTED said in a statement.

"In the ensuing panic, they were suspected of being accessories to the attack and were summarily executed, it would seem, by members of this militia," the aid group added.

The bodies of Ali Mutlaq, Ali Kamel Hadi, Ahmed Raji and that of their driver were found in a cemetery in Najaf "after two days of fruitless searches and confusing, contradictory information," ACTED said.

The men had been stabbed several times and one of them had his eyes gouged out, according to Mutlaq's father, who was a colonel in the Iraqi army under the regime of Saddam Hussein.

Authorities in Najaf were not immediately able to confirm the findings. ACTED has been active in Samawa since May 2003 and is working on a four-month project funded by the US-led coalition to reduce the risks of water-related diseases to the residents of Samawa and nearby Khdeir.

The group, founded in 1993 and active in 12 countries, employs 350 people in Iraq, including about 100 in Samawa, 280 kilometers (170 miles) from Baghdad.

© AFP

Subject: French news

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