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Hostage crisis: As deadline nears, colleagues tense

By A Correspondent in Mumbai
Last updated on: July 30, 2004 15:07 IST
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The colleagues of the seven drivers, including three Indians, taken hostage in Iraq are tense. The abductors have threatened to kill one Indian hostage if their demands are not met by 8:30pm (Indian Standard Time) Friday night.

The drivers were employed with the Kuwait and Gulf Link Transport Company, which is among those which ferry supplies to neighbouring Iraq.

The captors of the drivers have demanded that the company cease operations in Iraq.

One of the Kuwait-based drivers spoke to revealed that this demand had been met. The company's trucks are no longer plying to Iraq.

But otherwise, Narinder Singh and his colleagues are unaware of the efforts being made to secure the release of their colleagues.

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They are keeping up with the developments through newspaper and television reports as company officials only say: Your colleagues will be back soon.

Friday being their weekly off, most of the Indian employees are trying to find out the fate of their colleagues.

Most of the drivers employed with the company are Indians, he said. While Antaryami and Tilak Raj have been working with KGL for a year, Sukhdev Singh joined only about two-and-a-half months back.

Narinder had paid Rs 65,000 to an agent in Nangal town, near the Punjab-Himachal Pradesh border, to get the job. The Himachal Pradesh resident had been told that the work was in Kuwait. But once he joined KGL, his work involved ferrying cargo to Iraq.

He said that the Indians were not doing too bad, earning about 80 Kuwaiti Dinar (1KD ~ Rs150), including overtime, till the three drivers were abducted.

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