2 Macedonian Contractors Kidnapped in Iraq
The British military confirmed Saturday that two Macedonians working for a cleaning company have been abducted in southern Iraq. A ransom has been demanded for their release.
Maj. Peter Cripps said the two men were abducted Thursday morning in Basra, 340 miles southeast of Baghdad, while driving with a Macedonian woman who worked for the same company, called Ecolog.
"They were in a vehicle traveling between two locations and during that route they were somehow abducted," Cripps told The Associated Press.
The kidnappers took the two men and left the woman on the side of the road, where she was picked up by a British patrol, Cripps said.
"This is being treated as a criminal case and the Iraqi Police Services are leading the investigation," he said.
An Iraqi employee at the company, who declined to be identified as he was unauthorized to speak to the media, said the kidnappers had contacted the firm's management and demanded $1 million ransom.
The employee said the hostages were Macedonian Muslims of Albanian ethnic origin and worked for the company that has a cleaning contract at the British-controlled Basra International Airport. The Macedonian company's headquarters in neighboring Kuwait.
More than 250 foreigners have been kidnapped in Iraq, including American reporter Jill Carroll, who was abducted Jan. 7 in Baghdad. At least 39 have been killed.