The German Foreign Ministry reported Tuesday that one of its citizens has been missing for five days and a television station has broadcast photos allegedly showing the blindfolded woman with her captors. Germany's ARD television reported the woman has been kidnapped and that the pictures were taken from a video demanding Germany stop any dealings with Iraq's government. Germany has ruled out sending troops to Iraq and opposed the U.S.-led war.
It was not immediately clear what the woman was doing in Iraq. Her name was not released. Foreign Ministry spokesman Martin Jaeger would only say that the woman was missing. "The German government is directing its efforts to bringing her to safety as soon as possible," he said in Berlin.
In another abduction case, Christian Peacemaker Teams confirmed in a statement Tuesday that four people from the group have been missing since Saturday. "On November 26, 2005, two members of Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) and two members of a CPT visiting delegation were taken in Baghdad," the statement said.
The group said it has had a team in Iraq since October 2002, working with U.S. and Iraqi detainees and training others in nonviolent intervention and human rights documentation.
"He'd been involved in peace and nonviolence programs for most of his life, constantly challenging wars and violence and committed to supporting conflict resolution programs," said Pat Gaffney, an adviser to the Christian Peace Education Fund, where Kember is a trustee.
In Barcelona, Spain, British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said he had contacted Iraqi Foreign Minister Hohshyar Zebari about Kember's abduction, and that Zebari "pledged every assistance from the Iraqi government."
"It is a very difficult and very worrying situation for the family, obviously for Mr. Kember himself, and we remain in touch with the family," Straw said.
Iraq was rocked by a wave of foreigner kidnappings and beheadings in 2004 and early 2005. Insurgents including al-Qaida in Iraq seized more than 225 people, killing at least 38 of them, including three Americans. The victims included aid workers, journalists and contractors, seized in an attempt to drive foreigners out of the country or to win large ransoms.
Since May, abductions have dropped off considerably, mainly because many Western groups left Iraq and security precautions for those remaining have been tightened, with foreigners staying in barricaded compounds and moving only in heavily guarded convoys.
The last American to be kidnapped was Jeffrey Ake, a contract worker from LaPorte, Ind., who was abducted April 11. He was seen in a video aired days afterward, held with a gun to his head, but there has been no word on his fate since, reports the AP. I.L.