Iraqi Archbishop released unharmed and without ransom being paid
The Vatican has welcomed the release of Archbishop Basile Georges Casmoussa in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul. Various media have reports claiming Archbishop Casmoussa said his kidnappers didn't realize who he was when they abducted him a day earlier.
The Boston Globe reports Archbishop Basile Georges Casmoussa was back resting in his home shortly after his 19-hour-long kidnapping ended and told Vatican Radio he had not been mistreated.
''I suspected that they kidnapped me thinking I was another person,'' Casmoussa told reporters in Mosul. ''They were kind with me and told me that I will be released very soon.''
It was not immediately clear if Casmoussa was wearing clerical garb when he was captured just after he came out of the home of a parishioner Monday evening in Mosul.
The Archbishop was quoted as telling the Italian news agency ANSA that he thought Pope John Paul II's strong appeal on his behalf was a ''decisive factor'' in his release. The Vatican had called the abduction a ''despicable terrorist act'' and demanded that the kidnappers free him immediately.
''I am truly, and, like a son, grateful to the pope, by whom I felt strongly supported in this very new situation for me,'' Casmoussa was quoted as telling ANSA. ''The kidnappers themselves told me this morning about his appeal, which I maintain was a decisive factor in my liberation.''
Freed archbishop says kidnappers didn't realize who he was (Boston Globe/AP 19/1/05)
Archbishop freed but the turmoil continues (The Age 19/1/05)
Archbishop abducted in Iraq (BBC 17/1/05)
AFP/Turkish Press report (17/1/05)
Catholic Archbishop kidnapped in Iraq (CathNews 18/1/05)
19 Jan 2005