The 39 missing Indian nationals, who have been reportedly held hostage in the Iraqi city of Mosul since 2014, are probably in a jail in Badush where fighting is still going on, said External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Sunday. The Union Minister said that in the effort to locate them, she had asked Minister of State for External Affairs, VK Singh, to go to Erbil on the very day Iraq PM Haider al-Abadi declared Mosul has been liberated from ISIS. On his visit, sources have told Singh that the Indians are probably in Badush jail, reported news agency ANI quoting Swaraj. In the second week of this month, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh had called Swaraj and said that the families of the hostages were keenly waiting for the return of their kin following ISIS’ defeat and needed the central government’s support in bringing them back, according to PTI. In reply to this, the Union minister had assured the CM to trace the hostages and said that VK Singh will coordinate with the Iraqi government and facilitate the return of the Indians stuck there, said the report.
Earlier, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Gopal Baglay had also said that the government has activated various channels for locating those Indians. In a PTI report, Baglay had said that the Ambassador of India to Iraq and the Consul General in Erbil have been instructed to continue the efforts to locate the Indian nationals on priority. Also, the Iraqi authorities have conveyed India that they would extend all their cooperation in this matter and have already issued instructions to all relevant Iraqi agencies for the same, said the report quoting MEA spokesperson.
Visited Peshmarga frontline in Mosul area to seek information on Indians held by ISIS. Peshmerga still clearing ISiS held areas. pic.twitter.com/ND1Auczcz7
— Vijay Kumar Singh (@Gen_VKSingh) July 12, 2017
Met with Dr. Ibrahim Al Jaafari, Foreign Minister of Iraq. pic.twitter.com/m053NJ5U1U
— Vijay Kumar Singh (@Gen_VKSingh) July 13, 2017
The Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared victory in the “liberated” city of Mosul on July 9, his office said, in the biggest defeat yet for the Islamic State group.