Baghdad Patriarch Aiming to Have 2 Captives Released

BAGHDAD, Italy, SEPT. 8, 2004 ( The Chaldean patriarch of Baghdad is working to obtain the liberation of two Italian volunteers, kidnapped Tuesday in the Iraqi capital.

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Hearing of the plight of Simona Torretta and Simona Pari, both 29, who work for the group called A Bridge to Baghdad, Archbishop Emmanuel III Delly said he would pursue every possible avenue to obtain their release.

Along with the two Italians, two Iraqi citizens, a volunteer engineer of the same nongovernmental organization, and an employee of the aid group Intersos were also kidnapped.

«But it is important to know who has kidnapped them, to what group the kidnappers belong,» the patriarch said in statements to SIR, the news agency of the Italian episcopate. «Whether or not we are successful in our objective is in God’s hands.»

He added: «There are many kidnapped women here in Iraq. Families are more afraid for their girls than for their boys. For us in Iraq, this isn’t news.»

The two women volunteers worked in the Farah program in Iraq, a project being carried out with the U.N. Children’s Fund focusing on education and the development of schools in Baghdad and Basra.

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