Four Americans and one Austrian. Keep them in your prayers. Some confusion over whether they're all still missing or whether one victim has already been found.
A provincial government spokesman said this afternoon that a local hospital had received two of the kidnap victims, one of whom was dead and the other seriously wounded. Details were vague. The Associated Press cited an unnamed police officer saying that the Austrian had been killed, and that the injured man was an American.
But a spokesman for the Kuwait-based company employing the contractors said in the early evening that all five victims were still missing.
Nineteen trucks and one security vehicle were hijacked "by people posing as police," said the official. "The insurgents," he added, abducted 14 people in total. The other nine were drivers from Pakistan, India, and the Philippines. They were later released, said George Picco, general manager of the Crescent Security Group, adding that the trucks have not been found.
Update: Jawa, which is the go-to for all stories like this, reports that, sadly, the Austrian contractor has been found dead, and one American has been found injured. They're still hoping, however, that maybe the NYT version is the correct one, and the Austrian is still missing. Three Americans are still missing, according to them.
They all work for the Crescent Security Group. Jawa analyzes the motives:
The five men were part of a convoy heading through the Shia dominated south of Iraq, but are thought to be held in a Sunni area. That part of Iraq is generally patrolled by British forces.
14 people were taken hostage, but the 9 non-Westerners have since been released. The implication I draw from this is that the hostages are being held for money, and that we should expect a ransom demand soon. UPDATE: Speculation is already abounding that the abductions are related to the issuing of an arrest warrant for the top Sunni cleric in Iraq. If this is the case, then the kidnappings are politically motivated. This is bad news if true.
The name of one of the men is Paul Reuben of Minnesota.
Update: Commenter USABeliever went slumming, so I didn't have to. Check out these comment threads from HuffPo.
Too bad these "security contractors" got kidnapped. Makes these $100,000 a year mercenary Hessians think twice about exploiting the Iraq people. I bet the regular army forces are soooooo enthusiastic about having to risk their lives searching for these high-paid ex-commandos.
I hope they get their justice handed to them.
The world is sick of you c***suckers justifying what you did to Iraq.
Fact is, the contractors and GI's who should have known better and told Bush and the generals what RIGHT and WRONG is, deserve whatever they get over there. They are the bad guys and I am sick of you bastards saying they aren't.
They're the "bad guys." Fellow Americans working to rebuild the country and--gasp!-- getting paid to do it are the enemy, not the terrorists who kidnapped them and have apparently killed one civilian already. Now, we all get some wacky comments on our blogs. Sometimes it's unfair to pull out individual comments, so I encourage you to click over and read the whole threads. In each, the overall tenor matches these comments, and contains very little if any in the way of hopes for these men's rescue and safety. All for peace, these guys, unless violence is killing the right people.