French journalists missing in Iraq alive

25th August 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Aug 25 (AFP) - Two French journalists who disappeared in Iraq last week are "undoubtedly alive", the chairman of state broadcaster Radio France Jean-Paul Cluzel told a press conference on Wednesday.

PARIS, Aug 25 (AFP) - Two French journalists who disappeared in Iraq last week are "undoubtedly alive", the chairman of state broadcaster Radio France Jean-Paul Cluzel told a press conference on Wednesday.

Cluzel did not give any further details as to the whereabouts of Christian Chesnot, a reporter for Radio France, and Georges Malbrunot, a correspondent for the newspaper Le Figaro, or how he knew they were alive.

Chesnot and Malbrunot went missing on Friday when they were to have left Baghdad for the central holy city of Najaf, where US forces have been fighting Shiite militia loyal to radical cleric Moqtada Sadr for three weeks.

The Radio France boss hailed the "efficiency of French diplomacy", adding without explanation: "We hope that a variety of actions will allow for their release."

Management at both Radio France and Le Figaro said the theory of an "unplanned kidnapping" seemed the most likely.

"Maybe they were kidnapped by mistake? Maybe the kidnappers didn't know they were French journalists," Le Figaro's foreign news editor Pierre Rousselin told AFP.

Kidnappings of journalists and other foreigners have become common in Iraq as insurgents attempt to force countries to withdraw their troops from the war-ravaged country or extort money.

A group calling itself the Islamic Army in Iraq has claimed responsibility for the kidnapping of Italian journalist Enzo Baldoni, demanding that Italy withdraw its 3,000 troops from Iraq. Rome vowed to maintain its forces.

© AFP

Subject: French news

0 Comments To This Article