BAGHDAD, Iraq – A video released Friday showed two missing Indonesian journalists flanked by masked gunmen.
The pair had been missing since Tuesday after they were seen being stopped by unidentified men in military uniforms in the turbulent Iraqi city of Ramadi (search).
The video, delivered anonymously to Associated Press Television News, showed a man and a woman squinting in the bright sunlight and holding up passports and identification badges from the Indonesia television station Metro TV.
The documents identified them as 26-year-old Meutya Viada Hafid (search) and Budiyanto, 36, a cameraman who, as is common in Indonesia, goes by one name. The people in the photo IDs appeared to be the same people shown in the video.
The names of the missing journalists had been released earlier by Metro TV, a 24-hour cable network.
A voice speaking off camera said the journalists were being held by the Mujahedeen in Iraq (search), a group about which little is known.
The group was last heard of in March 2004, when a statement attributed to them was circulated in Ramadi, an insurgent stronghold 70 miles west of Baghdad. At the time, they pledged not to attack Iraqi police unless the police helped U.S.-led coalition forces.
Ramadi has been the scene of frequent terrorist attacks and clashes between militants and U.S. forces and their Iraqi allies.
"We are now investigating the reason they are in the country, and we ask the Indonesian government to clarify their position and tell us the reason they are in the country. Otherwise we will kill them," the voice on the video said.
Informed of the video, Indonesian Foreign Ministry spokesman Marty Natalegawa had no immediate comment. Earlier, he said the Indonesian government was sending a team to Iraq to seek additional information.
"We are trying to ascertain the whereabouts of these two reporters and establish contact with them," Natalegawa said. "It was reported that the people who stopped them were wearing Iraqi military uniforms."
In the video, the woman wore a black headscarf and parka, while the cameraman wore a woolen hat and black jacket. A man wearing a keffiyeh and carrying an automatic rifle stood on either side of the journalists.
One of the Metro TV owners, Surya Paloh, said he would lead a team to Amman, Jordan, to help find the missing reporters. He also defended the decision to send journalists to Iraq, saying he wanted to guarantee his station provided independent coverage.
More than 190 foreigners have been abducted in Iraq in the past year. At least 13 foreigners remain in the hands of their captors, more than 30 were killed and the rest were freed or escaped.
The last journalist kidnapped in Iraq was Giuliana Sgrena, a reporter for the newspaper Il Manifesto who was abducted Feb. 4 in broad daylight by gunmen in Baghdad. She appeared in a video delivered anonymously to APTN on Wednesday begging for her life and warning foreigners — including journalists — to leave the country. She was held by a previously unheard of group called Mujahedeen Without Borders.