GOLD COAST BULLETIN Tuesday, September 14, 2004
TWO Australians and two East Asian men had reportedly been kidnapped in Iraq.
A statement was released, purportedly from the Islamic Secret Army in the Sunni Muslim insurgent bastion of Samarra.
The rebels gave Canberra a 24-hour deadline to end Australian interests in Iraq or see
the hostages executed, but there was no immediate confirmation of the ultimatum’s authenticity.
“One of our brave brigades ambushed civilian cars belonging to the American army on the motorway from Baghdad to Mosul,” said the statement.
“It took four prisoners – two Australians and two East Asian nationals who were working as security contractors for important people,” it said.
“We tell the infidels of Australia that they have 24 hours
to leave Iraq or the two Australians will be killed.”
The Foreign Affairs Department was investigating the authenticity of the statement.
Meanwhile it was revealed scores of Australians, including some former SAS troops, were believed to be risking their lives working as private security contractors in Iraq. Former elite SAS soldiers could earn as much as $9000 a week to guard corporate managers and infrastructure projects.