Mosul, Iraq, Jan 18, 2005 / 22:00 pm
The Iraqi archbishop, who was kidnapped Monday but released yesterday after 19 hours in captivity, credits the Pope for his quick release. The Vatican had called the abduction a ''despicable terrorist act'' and demanded that the kidnappers free him immediately.
Archbishop Basile Georges Casmoussa was released without payment of ransom, the Vatican said. The kidnappers initially demanded $200,000.
''The kidnappers themselves told me this morning about (the Pope’s) appeal, which I maintain was a decisive factor in my liberation,” the archbishop was quoted as saying.
The 66-year-old archbishop told Vatican Radio that he was not mistreated and he did not think the kidnappers “wanted to strike at the Church per se.'' He said his kidnappers did not realize who he was when they kidnapped him.