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Hostages may be freed soon: KGL

August 04, 2004 00:41 IST

The Kuwaiti company whose seven employees, including three Indians, are held hostage in Iraq, on Tuesday night said it expected the captives to be freed "very soon".

"We are finalising things. The negotiations are in the final stages and good news can come any time," Rana Abu-Zaineh, spokeswoman for the Kuwait and Gulf Link transport company, said as talks between the abductors' negotiator, Sheikh Hisham al-Dulaimi, and KGL continued.

Also Read: Abductors want Dulaimi to continue negotiations

Minister of State for External Affairs E Ahamed said in New Delhi that "statements have been made by both KGL company and Sheikh Hisham al-Dulaimi, which indicate that negotiations are continuing and a successful and satisfactory outcome may be likely."

Prominent religious leaders in Iraq have also called for the release of the hostages, Ahamed said.

He quoted from an appeal made by the spokesman of the Ulema Board of Iraq, Sheikh Mohammed Bashar al-Faisi, in which he said the hostages had no connection with the occupation forces and have not harmed the Iraqi people.

Acts of kidnapping are acts of violence and violence only brings more violence, Faisi said.

Zaineh declined to reveal what KGL was prepared to do in return for their release. She also refused to identify the parties through which the firm was talking to the abductors of the three Indians -- Antaryami, Tilak Raj and Sukhdev Singh -- three Kenyans and an Egyptian.

The abductors, calling themselves 'Holders of Black Banners', had threatened to kill their captives one by one unless their employer agrees to pull out of Iraq.

They later also demanded release of Iraqi prisoners in Kuwait and the US and compensation for Iraqis killed in Fallujah.

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