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No word on fate of Indian Canadian hostage in Iraq

December 01, 2005 15:27 IST

There is still no word on the fate of a 32-year-old Indian Canadian student among a group of western hostages kidnapped in Iraq, his family said.

Harmeet Singh Sooden, an Auckland University student in New Zealand, is one of the four peace activists from Canada, Britain and the United States, who were taken hostage at gunpoint in Baghdad on Saturday.

A Radio New Zealand report on Thursday said Sooden's family was in regular contact with embassies overseas, but still knew very little about what has happened to him or where he was being held.

His brother-in-law Mark Brewer told the radio Sooden gave serious thought to going to Iraq and weighed up the risks. Sooden felt strongly about going to he troubled country to help others, Brewer said.

The Indian Canadian was working for the Christian Peacemaker Teams, one of the last remaining aid groups in Iraq.

The western hostages, branded as spies, have been shown in a video aired by Al-Jazeera television. A previously unknown group calling itself the 'Swords of Truth' claimed two Canadians, including Sooden, a Briton and an American were 'spies working for the occupying forces' under the guise of working for a Christian group.

A Christian Peacemaker Team spokesperson said the organisation has been working with Scotland Yard and a Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer in Baghdad to help secure their release, according to the radio report.

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