Expatica news

Dutch journalists’ driver, guard killed in Iraq

1 June 2004

AMSTERDAM — The Dutch journalists whose driver and guard were kidnapped and killed in Iraq last week have decided to leave the war-torn country and head to Jordan.

The driver and guard were kidnapped on Friday and their bodies were found dumped a day later. They had been shot in the back, Dutch public news service NOS reported.

Dutch journalists union NVJ said one of the culprits was wearing a police uniform and drove a police vehicle. It has described the murders as a serious warning to media personnel working in Iraq.

NVJ secretary Hans Verploeg made an immediate connection between the killings and the work of the journalists, married couple Anneke van Ammelrooy and Ismael Zayer. He said press agency workers are increasingly being threatened and intimidated in Iraq.

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the NVJ have made an urgent request to the Iraqi authorities and US troops to provide protection for the two journalists and their four children.

The Foreign Affairs Ministry in The Hague has been informed of the murders.

Van Ammelrooy works for De Groene Amsterdammer, which is weekly magazine. She is also the chief of Civil Pillar, which is assisting in the reconstruction of Iraq.

She lives with her husband, the Editor-in-Chief of the independent newspaper Al Sabah Al Jedid, in the Iraqi capital Baghdad. He has Dutch nationality and the children are from his previous marriage. They are aged in their teens.

A friend of the couple in the Netherlands has said that the family wishes to return home as soon as possible. “The Iraqi authorities have not responded to the appeal for protection.”

The Groene Amsterdammer later confirmed to Expatica on Tuesday that the family will leave Iraq on Wednesday and plan to
travel initially to Jordan.

Van Ammelrooy said that the driver and guard, both of whom were Iraqis, where shot in the neck and back with a machine gun. Their bodies were dumped on a rubbish tip, she said.

Together with large international TV broadcasters, the IFJ has set up a special unit to train journalists in security precautions. Dutch news services NOS and RTL, plus the NJJ, are now involved in the International News safety Institute (INSI).

Since the March 2003 invasion of Iraq by US and British troops, 45 journalists have been killed in the war-torn nation.
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Dutch news