Arab satellite TV al-Jazeera has aired a video madeby a previously unknown militant group showing four Western nationalstaken hostage in Iraq.
A Briton, two Canadians and a US citizen were kidnapped in western Baghdad on Saturday.
The video claimed they were undercover spies working asChristian peace activists, and showed the passport of the UK man,74-year-old Norman Kember.
No demands or specific threats against their lives were made in the tape...
A US-based group which says it is involved inviolence-reduction programmes confirmed on Tuesday that four of itsmembers had been seized in Baghdad.
Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) said its teams of trained peacemakers "work in areas of lethal conflict around the world."
The organisation said it had been present in Iraq sinceApril 2003, "providing first-hand, independent reports from the region,working with detainees of both US and Iraqi forces, training others innon-violent intervention, and human rights documentation," according toa statement.
And just who are Christian Peacemaker Teams? Well...
International violence-reduction organization Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) confirmed today that the four human rights workers missing in Baghdad on 26 November are associated with their organization. One of the missing persons is Norman Kember, a member of the current CPT delegation to Iraq. The British Foreign office confirmed Mr. Kember's name on Sunday.
CPT has been present in Iraq since October 2002. The Team's work has focused on documenting and focusing public attention on detainee abuses and connecting citizens of Iraq to local and international human rights organizations. Iraqi friends and human rights workers have welcomed the team as a nonviolent, independent presence and asked that the team tell the their stories.
In a "Statement of Conviction," the long-term Team members stated that they "are aware of the many risks both Iraqis and internationals currently face," and affirmed that the risks did not outweigh their purpose in remaining. They express the hope that "in loving both friends and enemies and by intervening non-violently to aid those who are systematically oppressed, we can contribute in some small way to transforming this volatile situation."
CPT does not advocate the use of violent force to save lives of its workers should they be kidnapped, held hostage, or caught in the middle of a conflict situation.
Christian Peacemaker Teams places teams of trained peacemakers in crisis situations and militarized areas around the world. These teams host regular delegations of committed peace and human rights activists to conflict zones, who join teams in working with civilians to document abuses and develop nonviolent alternatives to armed conflict. The CPT Iraq Team has hosted a total of 120 people on sixteen delegations over the last three years.
I suspect, just like with other conservatives, the contact of these people with the terrorists (and these are terrorists we're talking about here) will do much more for Iraq and its quest for stability than anything violent that would be done to "save" them.
I think these folks in CPT must have been at least dimly aware of the risks, and hope they can help change the situation. I also think "peacemaking" is the last thing the guys with guns - on either side- want any time soon at this point.