Millennium Post

ISIS moves 46 nurses out of Tikrit hospital

ISIS moves 46 nurses out of Tikrit hospital
All 46 Indian women nurses, holed up in a hospital basement in Tikrit city in conflict-hit Iraq, have been forced to move out by Sunni militants (ISIS) during which some nurses received injuries.
Confirming that the nurses were ‘on the move right now and they agreed to shift for their own safety’, the spokesperson in the external affairs ministry said there was no ‘freewill in zones of conflict’, indicating that they were under captivity and moving under duress.

He said that after considering the situation where there were no options as the area was not under Iraqi government’s control and the humanitarian groups were unable to reach to these nurses, the ministry, in consultation with Kerala chief minister Oomen Chandy and other stakeholders, advised the nurses to ‘proceed’ as were asked.

‘It is not a situation of our choice. It is a difficult situation,’ he said. However, the spokesperson did not clearly say who asked them to move from Tikrit and only added ‘Our embassy continues to be in touch even as they are moving to another location.’ The nurses remain ‘unhar med’, he said, adding some of them suffered minor injuries in an incident of glass-breaking in Iraq but no one has got any major injury. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had comprehensive consultations with Chandy who met her seeking effective action to evacuate the nurses, a majority of whom are from Kerala.

Kerala government sources said some nurses have said that the ISIS militants have asked the nurses to board a bus and leave the hospital in Tikrit. Another group of 39 Indian remains in captivity and was ‘unharmed’, the External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson said. There are about 100 Indians in the conflict zone, though an exact number was not possible to give, he said. The Spokesperson said India was not alone in working for the safety of its nationals and it has partners ‘inside and outside Iraq’.

Meanwhile, MEA has already given air tickets to nearly 1000 Indians to travel out of Iraq. 1500 Indians want to leave the country and have registered with the ministry. In Erbil also, some Indians have conveyed to MEA officers that they want to leave, the Spokesperson said. There were about 10,000 Indians before the start of the serious strife between government troops and Sunni militants, backed by al Qaida.
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