New Delhi, July 17: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said on Sunday that 39 Indians, who went missing in Iraq in 2014, could be in a prison in Badush and more clarity will emerge once the area is cleared of fighting.
The minister told family members of the men, who had been abducted by terror group Islamic State from Mosul, about information received by Minister of State for External Affairs, V. K. Singh, who had gone to Iraq.
Minister of State for External Affairs M. J. Akbar was also present during the briefing.
Sushma Swaraj said that soon after the Iraqi Prime Minister announced that Mosul had been liberated from the ISIS, she asked V.K. Singh to go to Erbil and personally find out where the missing Indians were and how they can be rescued.
“I also asked Akbar to talk to the Foreign Minister of Iraq. I personally talked to Foreign Ministers of those nations which could help us in finding them (missing Indians),” she said.
Sushma Swaraj said that Singh returned from Erbil on Saturday where he found out that East Mosul had been completely liberated from ISIS but the area was restricted for security reasons.
“But fighting is going on in West Mosul especially in Badush,” she said.
She said one crucial information that he received from a senior official was that the Indians were first employed for construction of a hospital and were later moved to farming.
“They were later sent to a jail in Badush after which there was no contact with them by Iraq’s intelligence agencies.
“Only after the area is cleared in Badush can we get more information about their location and their well being,” she said, adding that she personally gave that information to the families of the missing Indians.
Sushma Swaraj added that the Iraqi Foreign Minister would be visiting India on July 24 and would provide further information.