Dubai, Aug. 31 (Agencies): An Iraqi militant group said it had killed 12 Nepali hostages and showed pictures on an Islamist website of one of them being beheaded.
The 12, who were working as cooks and cleaners for a Jordanian company, had been reported kidnapped on August 20. The militant group, Ansar al-Sunna, said it had kidnapped them because they were cooperating with the American troops in Iraq.
The Nepal foreign ministry said it could not confirm the report of the hostages’ deaths but added that the government had nothing to do with the US-led invasion of Iraq.
The website featured video footage that showed a masked man in desert camouflage apparently slitting the throat of a blindfolded man lying on the ground. The blindfolded man moans and a shrill wheeze is heard, then the masked man displays the head to the camera before resting it on the decapitated body.
Other clips showed a man firing single shots from an assault rifle at the back of the heads of 11 others. The 11 are prone in a row in what appears to be a ditch. Blood seeps from their bodies on to the sand.
Still photos of similar scenes were posted on other websites known for militant Islamic comment.
At the hometown of Ramesh Kadhka, one of the Nepali hostages, relatives wept inconsolably after reports filtered in that the captives have been killed. “Oh God, why have you kept me alive,” Kadhka’s father Jit Bahadur cried at Lele, near from Kathmandu.
Like hundreds of his fellow Nepalis, Kadhka was lured to West Asia with the dream of making a fortune that could change his life. Kadhka, the fifth of seven children, expected to make nearly 40,000 rupees (Rs 25,000) a month — six times what he would have made from his old job working in a restaurant in Kathmandu.
The report of the massacre coincided with a steady stream of official statements from Delhi that three Indians taken hostage in Iraq would be freed soon.
In Himachal Pradesh, Ram Murti, the father of Indian hostage Antaryami, described the reported killings of the Nepali hostages as unfortunate but felt that it would not affect the prospects of his son’s release.
In a statement, Ansar al-Sunna said: “We have carried out the sentence of God against 12 Nepalis who came from their country to fight the Muslims and to serve the Jews and the Christians... believing in Buddha as their God.”
“Our brothers, do not feel any mercy or pity for these nasty and spiteful people,” the statement added. “They have left their homes and their countries and crossed thousands of kilometres to work for the American crusader forces and to support their war against Islam and the mujahideen.”