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16 Indians evacuated, monetary help available for those wanting to return from Iraq

In an announcement that came as a major relief for the kith and kin of those abducted in Iraq, the Ministry of External Affairs confirmed on Friday that all Indians there were safe and that 16 Indians had been evacuated from violence-hit areas.

Apprising scribes of the situation in Iraq, Syed Akbaruddin, the Official Spokesperson of Ministry of External Affairs, said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is taking stock of the situation of the 40 Indians abducted in Iraq and added that it was a matter of high priority for the government.

Assuring the families of those abducted, the MEA spokesperson averred, “The Indian nationals who have been abducted remain safe,” and added, “We remain in constant touch with the 46 Indian nurses. We have made arrangements for electricity and food in the hospital.”

Informing of the other arrangements made by the government for the Indians stranded in the strife-torn country, he said, “No Indian in Iraq will suffer on account of lack of documentation. Any Indian national who desires to return, but does not have money for the fare will be assisted by Indian community welfare fund in Iraq.”

“We have informed all our missions in the Indian region to discuss this matter with their states. Our officials have had meetings with a number of Iraqi officials at various levels.”

India had on Wednesday announced that its 40 nationals working for a Turkish construction company had been abducted in Iraq’s Mosul area, which was taken over by insurgents of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin had said the workers mostly belonged to the country’s northern states, such as Punjab, and worked for the Tariq Noor al Huda construction company. He also said that no ransom call had been received.

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