Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Three Romanian journalists kidnapped in Baghdad!

It seems that now it's our turn...

God Bless them and their families! Let's hope for the best!

Three Romanian journalists have been kidnapped in Baghdad, a television station (Prima TV ) employing two of the journalists said Tuesday.

The journalists went missing Monday, shortly after an interview with interim Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, said Petre Mihai Bacanu, director of the Romania Libera newspaper, where kidnapped reporter Ovidiu Ohanesian worked.

Prima TV, where kidnapped reporter Marie Jeanne Ion and cameraman Sorin Dumitru Miscoci worked, reported that the three were kidnapped in Baghdad's al-Mansur quarter. Ion made a phone call to the newsroom, speaking a mixture of Romanian, Arabic and English and telling colleagues they were being kidnapped, the station said in a statement.

''Don't kill us, we are from a poor country and we have no money,'' the statement quoted Ion as saying.

She later sent a text message to the station, saying ''Help, this is not a joke, we've been kidnapped.''

Dan Dumitru, news director at Prima TV, said the two journalists were in Iraq for five days to interview Allawi and interim President Ghazi al-Yawer.

He said that Ion called during an editorial meeting on Monday and he put the phone on speaker.

''Marie-Jeanne was begging in English and in Arabic 'to be left alone,''' he said. ''Their translator said that they were from Romania, a poor country, and don't have money to pay a ransom.''

''All I know (is) they have been taken by force and we can't reach them any more,'' Dumitru told private television station Realitatea TV.

Romania's Foreign Ministry set up a team to coordinate efforts to find the three, a statement said.

Romania's President Traian Basescu, who was in Iraq and Afghanistan for two days visiting Romanian troops, said upon returning to Bucharest on Tuesday that his government was doing all it could to find the journalists. Basescu said Romania had sought help from the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq.

Romanian Prime Minister Calin Popescu Tariceanu said no one has contacted Romanian authorities demanding a ransom.

Romania has about 800 troops in Iraq and about 500 in Afghanistan.

Romanian President Traian Basescu called today on coalition forces in Iraq to help secure the release of three journalists who were kidnapped last night.

"We have alerted all the secret services and the foreign intelligence services of our allies to solve the case," Mr Basescu told the Romanian TVR1 television after the three journalist were snatched on Monday night.

The disappearance of the three Romanians is just the latest kidnaping incident involving journalists in Iraq but the first one involving Romanian journalists.

Earlier this month Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena was freed after the intervention of the Italian secret service, after nearly four weeks as a captive.

But Nicola Calipari, the international operations chief of Italy's military intelligence service who masterminded her release, was shot and killed by US troops at a checkpoint as Sgrena was being driven to Baghdad airport.

In January Liberation correspondent Florence Aubenas and her translator, Hussein Hanoun al-Saadi, were snatched outside a Baghdad hotel and are still missing.

And Christian Chesnot, a freelance journalist kidnapped in Iraq while working for Radio France International and Georges Malbrunot, Le Figaro's Iraq correspondent, were released just before Christmas, after more than four months in captivity.

God Bless!

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Blogger Cristian C. Francu said...

New developments…

‘The Romanian government is determined to protect the safety of Romanian nationals and is capable of fulfilling this pledge’, Basescu said at an emergency meeting of intelligence and foreign affairs officials and presidential advisors…

Can we expect an offensive of some Romanian Secret Service forces? Can we trust our secret services capacity and ability to gather information and to act decisively?
Man, if you are Romanian or living in Romania you should know that our secret services failed to find the famous MISA guru BIvolaru in Romania…how can we trust their ability to find and even rescue our three missing journalists?

I hope for the best, I am an optimistic, I trust the US secret service and I still have hopes the we have in Romanian some good professionals in the secret services…

DO we have a really experienced and good negotiator? I sure hope so… The Italian experience must be a lesson for all of us…

President Basescu also said earlier that "all the state structures have been put on alert and are determined to resolve this problem." If I trust some Romanian authority…that’s is Traian Basescu…

Another new and very important detail:

Al the travel expenses and arrangements in Iraq were financed by Mohamed Munaf, an American Iraqi an businessman. It seems he has close relatives even in the Iraqi Government.

And…pay close attention; he has been kidnapped together with the Romanian journalists.

How come they didn’t had real and effective protection in the Sun Flower hotel?

Mohamed Munaf was a closed business partner of Omar Hayssam, who is doing business in Romania for some tiem and is very closed to the former ruling Party - PSD.

The Romanian media made some interesting stories about his involvement in the privatization of IPRS Baneasa.

It seems that Omar Hayssam received a phone call from the kidnappers who claimed a reward around 4 millions dollars.

And another important detail :
Vasile Ion, a PSD senator from Buzau, a colleague of Omar is the father of the missing reporter Marir-Jeanne Ion.

So…Mohamed Munaf, payed the travel in Iraq for the three Romanian kidnapped journalists: Marie-Jeanne Ion, Sorin Dumitru Miscoci si Ovidiu Ohanesian. It seems he had been kidnapped also.

Omar Hayssam (the man who claims he received a phone call from the kidnappers and also a PSD member or ‘friend’), and Mohamed Munaf were good friends and partners for a very long time. Some say that in the last period Omar Hayssam has conveyed his participations in many companies in favor of Mr. Munaf, who know is missing.

I hope for the best result and I understand Mr. Vasile Ion and all the other family members concerns, fears and hopes.

As the Romanian Prime Minister Calin Popescu Tariceanu said it still is ‘unclear what happened to the three (or four)’, and that no one has contacted yet the Romanian authorities demanding a ransom.

Some rumors I heard say that they have been kidnapped by ‘bandits’ and then sold to some Al Qaida cell…

God Bless Marie-Jeanne Ion, Sorin Dumitru Miscoci si Ovidiu Ohanesian !

2:50 PM  
Blogger Cristian C. Francu said...

The state structures have been put on alert and our secret services are determined to resolve this problem. It seems they are organised in a ‘crisis cell’ very much the same as the one organised in Madrid after the events in March 2004.

This ‘crisis cell’ gather and use all the infos about the kidnapping and communicate to the media and the public opinion only those which can not danger the lifes of the victims or the result of the negotiation.

Speaking of the negotiation…what do u think: We will witnesse an Assault in atempt to rescue the three journalists or only Negotiations ?

3:21 PM  
Blogger Cristian C. Francu said...

The Romanian Football (Soccer) National Team will play the today match with Macedonia at Skopje wearing some special t-shirts inscribed “Eliberati-i!”/ “Free Them!” – a special message for the kidnappers.

They will wear them during the match underneath their official equipment and they will send their message to Abu Mussab al-Zarkawi if they score…

Let’s send our message to the ass-hole, too… al-Zarkawii or who the hell kidnapped our people, don’t mess with us!

Free them!


4:46 PM  
Blogger Cristian C. Francu said...

http://www.9am.ro/editorial/zilnic/67/Fluturi-si-omizi a great editorial from Cotidianul. IN ROMANIAN

Robert Turcescu...about the 'true journalists' like Marie-Jeanne, Ovidiu &Sorin and the ones who asked "who the hell send them in Iraq" or about butterflies & caterpillars...

Let's pray for Marie-Jeanne, Ovidiu & Sorin !

6:43 PM  
Blogger Cristian C. Francu said...


must read this article from Evenimentul Zilei.

Interesting scenarios...and an objective view...

The main Ideea: THE KEY IS HAYSSAM!

I hope for the best...but have you seen those 'carpets' behind the three journalists? IT looked so fake...don't u think?

4:07 PM  
Blogger Cristian C. Francu said...


ON mediafax.ro another interesting and objective article from a doctor in psichology...

About the behaviour of the three kidnapped romanians in the video from Al-Jazeera and about the kidnapping victims behavior in general...

a must read!

5:38 PM  

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