Zee Media Bureau/Himanshu Kapoor
Baghdad: Militants of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) on Thursday moved all Indian nurses in Tikrit to an undisclosed location, Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin informed saying that the MEA is in touch with interlocutors on the ground.
Speaking on the transferring of the nurses, all from Kerala, Akbaruddin said that it is a conflict situation and only authenticated and corroborated information can be provided, adding that the nurses are safe and unharmed.
He also rejected reports of a bomb blast near the hospital where the nurses where holed up. Akbaruddin said that there was no blast but few nurses sustained injuries from broken glass during the shifting, while informing that India`s primary goal is well being of nurses.
Meanwhile, Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said that the nurses spoke to him when they boarded bus which was brought by the ISIS militants to take them to another location, speculatively Mosul.
“No idea where they are right now exactly. They spoke to me as soon as they boarded bus,” Chandy said, adding, “We`re expecting detailed info after some time, MEA and the Indian embassy are doing their best.”
Chandy had earlier in the day met with External Affairs minister Sushma Swaraj in Delhi on Thursday and discussed the situation in Tikrit.
When reporters asked the MEA spokesman if the nurses were taken as hostages, he said that "in zones of conflict there is no free will".
Around 1500 Indians stranded in Iraq have registered to leave the strife-torn country and till now 900 Indians have been provided with air tickets to return home while 25 officials have been deployed in the conflict zone of Iraq, he informed.