July 5, 2014 | By Sikh Siyasat Bureau
Kochi, India (July 05, 2014): According to media reports a group of 46 nurses caught up in fighting in Iraq arrived home in India on on July 05 after briefly being held captive by suspected militants.
The nurses, mainly from Kerala, were met by family members clutching bouquets of flowers and overjoyed that they were home barely two days after being taken against their will from a hospital in the Iraqi city of Tikrit.
“I thought I will never come back. I thought, (in the) last two days I am finished. These are my last days,” one nurse called Marina told Reuters TV at Kochi airport in Kerala.
Tikrit, the birthplace of Saddam Hussein, former Iraqi president, was the site of fierce fighting this week as Iraqi troops battled to regain control of the city from the al-Qaida splinter group the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, also known as Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
The nurses had been holed up in a hospital in the city since the Islamic State insurgents and other Sunni Muslim militant groups seized towns and cities across Syria and Iraq in a lightning advance last month.
Many were initially unwilling to leave because of debts back at home, and then were trapped as the fighting grew more fierce. On Thursday, they were ordered to board buses and driven to the militant controlled city of Mosul, where they were held in a building overnight.
Speaking at the airport, the nurses said they had been well treated by their as yet unidentified captors.
“They did not misbehave with us. They provided for food, accommodation and whatever we wanted they provided for,” one nurse, who did not give her name, told a local television network. “They were saying you are Indian nurses and we are not targeting you people.”
The government has not given details of the terms under which the nurses were released. But the foreign ministry said it involved multiple diplomatic channels as well as unspecified “very unconventional methods” in its efforts to free its citizens.
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Related Topics: India, Indian State, Iraq Crisis 2014