SRINAGAR, July 17 (1995): Five Western hostages, threatened with death by Kashmiri guerrilla captors, made a frantic tape-recorded appeal on Monday to India and their governments to help free them.
“I am well,” American Donald Hutchings said in a recorded message obtained by Reuters. “I don’t know if I’ll be killed today or tomorrow.”
Hutchings, kidnapped with a Norwegian, two Britons and a German, appealed to the Indian and U.S. governments to act quickly. The Al-Faran separatist group has threatened to kill the hostages unless New Delhi frees 20 arrested guerrillas.
The five were heard telling their partners over an audiocassette they were well but could be killed. “The Indian government does not seem to be sorting out the situation,” Briton Paul Wells said in the message.
“I appeal to the government of India to do anything they can,” said Norwegian Hans Ostro.
German Dirk Hasert and Briton Keith Mangan were the others picked up by the guerrillas nearly two weeks ago near Pahalgam, 90 km (55 miles) from Srinagar, the summer capital of the troubled Jammu and Kashmir province. Their female partners are lodged in a guest house in Srinagar.