Update on the mystery of the French hostages
Mohammad al-Jundi, the Syrian driver liberated by the Marines in Fallujah, arrived in France Saturday. al-Jundi had been separated from Christian Chesnot and George Malbrunnot for several weeks, and their location remains unknown.
Last Monday Prime Minister Raffarin was saying, “The recent discovery of the hiding place in which their Syrian driver had been locked up and the fact that the driver is alive and could provide us with information, make it possible for us to think that the hostages [Chesnot and Malbrunnot]are in a fairly safe geographical area”. To add to the mystery,
Un camionneur égyptien libéré par ses ravisseurs la semaine dernière, a affirmé samedi à Amman avoir été détenu au même endroit que les deux journalistes français Christian Chesnot et Georges Malbrunot dans une maison à Latifiyah, à une trentaine de kilomètres au sud de Bagdad. Ahmad Abdel Aziz Mohammed a expliqué qu’il n’avait pas directement vu les deux Français. Selon le chauffeur routier, ils sont “en bonne santé”.
[my translation] An Egyptian truck-driver released by his kidnappers last week, said in Amman last Saturday that he had been held at the same place as the two French journalists Christian Chesnot and George Malbrunot in a house in Latifiyah, some thirty kilometers south of Baghdad. Ahmad Abdel Aziz Mohammed explained that he had no direct contact with the two men. According to the road driver, they are “in good health”.
Additionally, Le Monde reported that Mohammed stated that the had attempted to talk to Chesnot and Malbrunot through an adjacent wall in the house there were being held, even when Mohammed doesn’t speak French.
The French authorities have misgivings as to the truthfulness of Mohammed’s statement, and whether he had actually been held hostage.
Saturday evening France2 news reported, right after the Chesnot and Malbrunnot item, that Polish hostage Teresa Borcz-Halifa, kidnapped on October 28 and subsequently released, had arrived in Warsaw. Additionally, they reported that the relatives of Prime Minister Iyad Allawi had been released.