Francophile Kuwaiti journalist offersto replace French hostages

1st September 2004, Comments 0 comments

KUWAIT CITY, Sept 1 (AFP) - A Kuwaiti journalist who says he is passionate about France offered Wednesday to go to Iraq immediately to take the place of two French journalists held hostage by an Islamist group.

KUWAIT CITY, Sept 1 (AFP) - A Kuwaiti journalist who says he is passionate about France offered Wednesday to go to Iraq immediately to take the place of two French journalists held hostage by an Islamist group.  

"I am prepared to replace the two French journalists," Saleh Bahman told AFP.  

"The purpose of my offer is not for excitement, but to show to those criminal kidnappers that their action is not humanitarian," added Bahman, who works for the Kuwait News Agency (KUNA).  

Christian Chesnot and Georges Malbrunot, who went missing August 20, are being held by a Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic Army of Iraq.  

The group is demanding that France revoke a ban on headscarves and other "conspicuous" religious insignia in state schools due to come into force on Thursday.  

The 51-year-old Kuwaiti said he was prepared to sacrifice his life to secure the release of the pair, whose kidnapping has moved the world to appeal for their release.  

He said his wife has agreed to his offer.  

Bahman spent nine years in France, initially as a linguistics student at Vesancon University between 1973 to 1978 on a French government scholarship. Between 1980 and 1984 he worked as KUNA's correspondent in France.  

Bahman, who has five children, speaks fluent French.  

"The two journalists were in Iraq to clarify the truth. They were not on a military mission," he said.  

A second ultimatum set by the kidnappers expired late Tuesday with no fresh news of the fate of the two men, who have warned that their lives are at risk if France does not rescind the headscarf law.

 

© AFP

 

Subject: French news

 

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