Still Hostage

jon-cote-photo.jpgIn an update to the Hostage a Year article earlier about the four American and one German contractors held hostage, I’ve located the Brookings institute report that the numbers came from. It turns out that the number of hostages taken stands at 305, but many have been killed, have been rescued, or have been returned. The full details are below, picked out from the footnotes of the table. I want to thank Vicki for leading me to this, I passed by this data twice and missed the footnotes in my search.

In an important update there are new indicators that these hostages are still alive, as this story from The Buffalo News reports:

The family of former Amherst resident Jonathon M. Cote, one of five Western security contractors kidnapped in Iraq last year, was being cautious Monday about comments from an employer of the security workers who said they are still alive and being actively sought by the company and the U.S. government.

Crescent Security Group managing partner Franco Picco said the company has been working with the FBI to find the men. They are alive, Picco told the Associated Press in a telephone call from Kuwait, and “we do have an idea where they are.” Company officials said they were

exerting all of their efforts to secure the release of the hostages. The search has been difficult, Picco said, but “we’ll get the guys back.”

Below is the data on all of the hostages taken since 2003:

FOREIGN NATIONALS KIDNAPPED IN IRAQ SINCE MAY 2003

Total through October 28, 2007 305

54 killed
147 released
4 escaped
6 rescued
89 unknown

NOTE ON FOREIGN NATIONALS KIDNAPPED IN IRAQ TABLE:*Developments: This category shows activity in the status of hostages, but does not necessarily apply to hostages kidnapped during the same month. Please see footnote for more information. According to the Baghdad Hostage Working Group at the US Embassy in Baghdad as cited in Erik Rye and Joon Mo Kang, “Hostages of War,” New York Times, May 17, 2006, 439 foreigners have been kidnapped in Baghdad since the start of the war. These include:
165 private contractors
63 (mostly truck) drivers
39 journalists
23 NGO workers
15 diplomats/gov’t employees.

An Associated Press tally shows that at least 13 Americans have been kidnapped. Four have been killed, four have escaped or been freed and five are considered taken, missing, or unknown. This list may be incomplete. “The Fate of Americans Taken Hostage in Iraq,” Associated Press, January 20, 2006.

Jonathan Cote and his fellow hostages are still out there waiting for freedom, they aren’t at home preparing for the holidays as they should be. Keep them in your thoughts and prayers if you would friends.

 Further resources:

The Brookings Institute Iraq Index 10-29 (PDF Link) – contains many good charts and stats on how the surge is going as well.)

US policy for Hostage situations (PDF Link)

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