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Iraq abduction: Press freedom organisations alarmed

International press freedom organisations have expressed alarm at the abduction of American journalist Jill Carroll in Baghdad, and the murder of her interpreter. Carroll, a freelancer on assignment in Iraq for the Christian Science Monitor, was kidnapped on January 7 by unidentified gunmen in the Adil neighborhood of western Baghdad with her interpreter, Allan Enwiyah.

KIDNAPPED AND KILLED: Freelance reporter of the Christian Science Monitor, Jill Carroll (left), is all smiles in this September 5, 2005 handout photo taken in an unknown location. Unidentified gunmen in western Baghdad abducted the 28-year-old American journalist and killed her Iraqi interpreter Allan Enwiyah (right), shown in Iraq with his son in this undated photo. Enwiyah, working as an interpreter for Carroll, was killed Saturday morning, January 7, 2006,. (Reuters/Delphine Minoui/Handout — AP Photo/Christian Science Monitor, Howard LaFranchi)

Enwiyah's body was later found in the same neighbourhood with two bullets to the head, the Boston-based Christian Science Monitor said citing law enforcement officials. No group has so far claimed responsibility for the abductions and killing, according to the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).

"We are deeply concerned for the safety of our colleague Jill Carroll, a noted professional journalist who has covered all sides of the conflict in Iraq," said Ann Cooper, CPJ Executive Director "We call on whoever is holding Carroll to release her at once." Cooper added, "We are appalled by the senseless killing of Allan Enwiyah and offer our condolences to his family."

"Journalists working in Iraq have once again been caught in a deadly ambush," the Paris-based Reporters sans Frontières (RSF) said. "The interpreter's death confirms that the Iraqi press continues to be the chief victim of the infernal climate for the media in this country. Our thoughts go out to his family and friends and to all Iraqi journalists, who are paying the highest price in the war ravaging their country."

A RSF statement said: "There is still a life that can be saved today. We appeal to all those who, like us, reject injustice to do everything possible to ensure that the kidnapped journalist is freed as soon as possible. Experience has shown that an energetic campaign is decisive in the first days of an abduction."

The kidnapping occurred after Carroll was leaving the office of Adnan al-Dulaimi, a prominent Sunni politician, the Monitor reported. Carroll had intended to interview Al-Dulaimi who was not available. The gunmen intercepted Carroll's car as it left the office, commandeered the vehicle with Carroll and Enwiyah inside, and sped away.

Carroll has worked in Iraq since October 2003 and has been contributing articles to the Monitor regularly since February 2004, the newspaper said. In Baghdad, Carroll has also worked for the Italian news agency ANSA, the San Francisco Chronicle, and other US dailies. She had previously worked as a reporter for the Jordan Times in Amman.

ANOTHER BLOODY DEATH: The body of Allan Enwiyah, the Iraqi translator working for an American journalist Jill Carroll being recovered from the roadside, Saturday, January 7, in Baghdad. An Iraqi Interior Ministry official said that gunmen kidnapped Carroll, 28, working for the Christian Science Monitor and killed her Iraqi translator in western Baghdad Saturday. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)

"Jill's ability to help others understand the issues facing all groups in Iraq has been invaluable," said Monitor editor Richard Bergenheim. "We are urgently seeking information about Ms Carroll and are pursuing every avenue to secure her release," he said.

In a statement on Monday, the newspaper said of Carroll that in Iraq it "has tapped into her professionalism, energy, and fair reporting on the Iraqi scene," and that "it was her drive to gather direct and accurate views from political leaders that took her into western Baghdad's Adil neighborhood on Saturday morning"

Armed groups have kidnapped at least 36 journalists in Iraq since April 2004, when insurgents began targeting foreigners for abduction. Most were released while six were killed. At least 60 journalists and 23 media support workers have been killed in Iraq since March 2003, according to CPJ.

According to RSF, 55 journalists and 21 media assistants have been killed since the start of war in Iraq in March 2003. Of the 76 fatal victims, 56 (73 per cent) were Iraqi and four (five per cent) were American. Baghdad continues to be Iraq's most dangerous city, with 27 journalists and assistants killed, followed by Mosul, with 12. The pan-Arab satellite TV station Al-Iraqiya has been the worst hit news media with a total of 10 journalists and assistants killed.

Jill Carroll is the 31st media worker to have been kidnapped in Iraq since the start of the war. Five of the kidnap victims (four Iraqis and Enzo Baldoni of Italy) were killed by their abductors. The others were released safe and sound. Twenty-three of the abductions took place in or near Baghdad.

Date posted: January 10, 2006 Last modified: May 23, 2018 Total views: 10