Radio France hopeful for release of reporter hostage

3rd September 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Sept 3 (AFP) - A top editor at Radio France Internationale, which employs one of two French journalists held hostage in Iraq, said Friday he hoped the men would soon be released but that the situation remained dangerous.

PARIS, Sept 3 (AFP) - A top editor at Radio France Internationale, which employs one of two French journalists held hostage in Iraq, said Friday he hoped the men would soon be released but that the situation remained dangerous.  

"In this kind of situation there are so many contacts made and things happen which change the plans originally made. It's a very dangerous situation," Alain Menargues, news director for the state-owned foreign news station, said on the air.  

"This is the situation: the hostages are at a spot marked X, let's say Fallujah, with middlemen who took the hostages out of the hands of their kidnappers to give them back to the French authorities.  

"The French authorities are undoubtedly with them, but they must travel the 40 to 50 kilometers separating them from the airport. Over these 40 to 50 kilometers, there are so many factions operating... which could intervene," Menargues said without giving further details.  

Hope was growing Friday that the two journalists kidnapped two weeks ago, Radio France correspondent Christian Chesnot and Le Figaro reporter Georges Malbrunot, could soon be released.  

An influential cleric on the Committee of Muslim Scholars, which has close contacts with the extremist Sunni groups operating in Iraq, said the men's release "could just be a matter of time".  

One expert on extremist groups in Iraq said the two Frenchmen were being held in the Sunni city of Fallujah, west of Baghdad, and suggested that recent US strikes on the militant stronghold risked complicating the negotiations.  

Another source with close links to the insurgency told AFP on condition of anonymity that the journalists were still in the hands of the Islamic Army in Iraq and being detained in the Baghdad region.

 

© AFP

 

Subject: French news

 

 

 

0 Comments To This Article