Three men in a Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT)
delegation held hostage in Iraq for nearly four months have been freed. Canadians James Loney, 41, and Harmeet Singh Sooden, 32; and Briton Norman Kember, 74, a BPFNA member. The men were kidnapped on November 26 along with their American colleague, Tom Fox, 54, whose body was found earlier this month.
According to Associated Press reports, the Iraqi Interior Ministry said the captives were rescued in a joint US-British operation in a rural area northwest of Baghdad, between the towns of Mishahda, 20 miles north of Baghdad, and the western suburb of Abu Ghraib, 12 miles from downtown.
Speaking in Toronto, Doug Pritchard, co-director of CPT, said no shots were fired during the operation and that the kidnappers were not present when the US-British force freed the hostages. US and British military officials did not provide details of the operation.
BPFNA Coordinating Director Gary Percesepe released this statement early this morning:
The Baptist Peace Fellowship give thanks to God for the safe release of Norman Kember, Harmeet Singh Sooden, and James Loney. Praise be to God. We join in the joy and thanksgiving of their families on this happy day.
We are especially thankful for all those around the world who held these dear ones in their thoughts & prayers by night and by day. Special thanks to all who held prayer vigils and made urgent appeals and engaged in advocacy on their behalf, through official and unofficial channels. And we are mindful also of the courageous witness of our Muslim sisters and brothers around the globe, in Iraq, Palestine, Canada and the U.S., Europe, and many other places; these are ones who joined us in prayer and called for their safe release, and testified to the power of our friends' Christian mission for peace in Iraq. We trust that these seeds of cooperation and good will continue to take root in our respective cultures.
We recognize as well our continuing and profound sorrow at the loss of the fourth member of the CPT Team, Tom Fox, whose death we mourn. And we recognize again the hard cost of discipleship, and the meaning of the cross during this season of Lent, for all whose prophetic words match their deeds in creative witness to peace.Thanks be to God.read coverage from the BBCsearch Yahoo! News for more coverage