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DUBAI (AFP) ? The brother of a Jordanian businessman taken hostage in Iraq last month urged his captors on Saturday to free him and called on the government to make greater efforts to secure his release.

"We appeal for his release. We are very worried about him" after contact with the kidnappers was cut around 10 days ago, Khaled Souqi, who lives in the United Arab Emirates, told AFP.

His brother, Samir Rajab Souqi, was abducted by six gunmen in the centre of Baghdad on April 24, according to Iraqi police.

Khaled told AFP the next day that his brother was manager of the Amman branch of the Kuwaiti Midas furniture company, and has been going on and off to Baghdad, where the firm also has a branch, for a year.

"We wish the Jordanian government would play a bigger role" in working for his release, Khaled said.

A Jordanian Foreign Ministry official said on April 26 that the kidnappers were demanding ransom and ruled out political motives for the abduction.

Khaled said the kidnappers had taken two mobile phones belonging to colleagues when they abducted his brother, but the phones had been switched off or not answering for around 10 days.

The 40-year-old hostage is married with three children.

Several Jordanians, most of them truck drivers, have been abducted in Iraq since the downfall of Saddam in April 2003 but most of them returned home unharmed, although in some cases relatives said a ransom was paid.

On May 6, Qatar-based news channel Al Jazeera said that an armed group had kidnapped six Jordanian contractors for the US military in Iraq, and showed video footage of the hostages.

Sunday, May 15, 2005
[tags]jordan, iraq, hostage, conflict, chaos[/tags]

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