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Don’t Know If 39 Missing Indians are Dead or Alive, Says Iraqi Foreign Minister

After Iraqi forces recaptured Mosul from ISIS, India is seeking its help to locate the 39 missing Indian labourers, mostly from Punjab, who were kidnapped in Mosul three years ago.

PTI

Updated:July 24, 2017, 6:47 PM IST
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Don’t Know If 39 Missing Indians are Dead or Alive, Says Iraqi Foreign Minister
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Minister of State for External Affairs M J Akbar and general VK Singh meet with family members of 39 Indian men missing in Iraq since June 2014. (File photo: PTI)
New Delhi: Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Eshaiker al-Jafari on Monday said his government has no substantial evidence whether the 39 Indians who went missing in Mosul three years ago have been killed or are still alive.

"We don't know whether they are dead or alive. We are equally concerned. There is no substantial evidence whether they are alive or not. We are making the best efforts," he told reporters after meeting Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan here.

Al-Jaafari began his five-day visit to India on Monday. After Iraqi forces recaptured Mosul from ISIS, India is seeking its help to locate the 39 missing Indian labourers, mostly from Punjab, who were kidnapped in Mosul three years ago.

Recently, Iraqi Ambassador to India, Fakhri Al-Issa, had also confirmed to News18 that he does not have any information about the whereabouts of the missing Indians.

“I cannot confirm anything but let's hope that they are still there, alive. Not only 39 Indians, thousands of Iraqi nationals are missing. ISIS may be using them as hostages or slave labours,” he said.

The Indian government has sent two delegations to Iraq to check how these people could be traced and rescued, but there is little clarity on what was the result of these visits. The government has repeatedly assured the families of the missing they were detained in a prison in Badush, a village in northern Iraq.

When Minister of state for External Affairs VK Singh had left for Iraq last month, the family members of the missing people were expectant that with the exact location known and Mosul now freed, it would just be a matter of time before their loved ones would fly home. It was not to be. While General VK Singh came back, the missing Indians did not.

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