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Two Indonesian Journalists Freed by Captors in Iraq


The Indonesian government says two Indonesian journalists kidnapped nearly a week ago in Iraq have been released.

The two journalists, 26-year-old Meutya Viafa Hafid and 38-year-old Budiyanto, were kidnapped by unidentified gunmen last week while traveling to the Iraqi town of Ramadi.

In a video shown on the Indonesian cable network Metro TV, where the pair work, a group calling itself the Army of Warriors said it was releasing Mr. Budiyanto and Ms. Hafid without conditions.

Indonesia has the world's largest Muslim population, and both journalists are Muslims.

The Indonesian foreign affairs spokesman, Marty Natalegawa, says the government is elated over the pair's release.

"We are delighted, even elated by the news of the release of the two Indonesian hostages," he said. "Not only the family, but practically the entire Indonesian nation have been following this drama with a great deal of concern, worry, and pain, to see our brother and sister being held in such a manner in Iraq."

The kidnappers demanded that the Indonesian government clarify the reason for the pair's presence in Iraq. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyno said publicly that they were fellow Muslims, working in Iraq in their professional capacity as journalists.

The foreign ministry spokesman said both reporters were now on their way out of Iraq and would soon be in the hands of Indonesian officials.

More than 120 foreigners have been kidnapped in Iraq during the past year, and at least of third of the abductees have been killed by their kidnappers.