Kashmiris threaten to kill British hostages - World - News - The Independent

Kashmiris threaten to kill British hostages

KASHMIRI guerrillas holding two Britons hostage in the Himalayan mountains yesterday warned that the pair might be killed if Indian police try to rescue them.

But the press in the Pakistani capital, Islamabad, reported that a guerrilla chief, Amir Farooq Kashmiri, had vowed to release the two Britons - Kim Housego, 16, and David Mackie, 36, from London - in a few days. It is not clear if the rebel leader is in contact with the kidnappers, who are hiding in the mountains about 55 miles east of Srinagar, capital of the Indian part of Kashmir.

The two Britons were in a party of foreigners climbing to a glacier when they were ambushed. A Muslim rebel group known as Harakat-a-Ansar yesterday claimed responsibility. One of a dozen groups fighting Indian security forces in the three-year-old Kashmir uprising, which has left thousands dead, the rebels claimed the two hostages would be swapped for three guerrilla commanders captured by the Indians.

In a communique, the guerrillas said: 'We've kidnapped them only to draw the attention of the international community towards the massive human rights violations in Kashmir.'

David Housego, Kim's father, who was on the trek with his wife, Jenny, and was forced to watch as their son was abducted, said: 'As far as I understand Islam, kidnapping of an innocent boy is not justified.' Mr Housego, a former Financial Times correspondent in Delhi, said the kidnappers were not Kashmiris but armed Muslim 'mercenaries' who had crossed over from Pakistan. The Housegos and Cathy Mackie have remained in Srinagar, hoping the two captives will be freed soon.

It is the third time since 1991 that foreigners have been involved in Kashmir's revolt. The Housegos had been assured by Indian officials that the Kashmir mountains were safe for hiking.

Indian police yesterday searched the valleys of the Pahalgam region, where the kidnap happened. But in the communique, militants warned police against trying to free the hostages. An attempt by security forces last January to rescue an Indian army major held by the same rebels ended in the hostage's death.

Several Kashmiri rebel groups condemned the kidnapping, as did Pakistan, which supports the Muslim insurgents. Amanullah Khan, leader of the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front, said: 'This can only hurt our cause.' In Delhi, schoolfriends of the British boy described Kim as athletic, gregarious and strong-willed. 'Kim can talk his way out of most trouble,' said a classmate.

Kim and Mr Mackie were separated from their families on Monday night after four guerrillas stole their money and warm clothes and marched them to Ardoo village, where they were held at gunpoint. 'They demanded to know our Delhi address. We thought it was rather odd at the time,' Mrs Housego said. But that night the kidnappers apparently rang their gang in Delhi, who robbed the Housego's home of cash and jewellery.

The Indian government on several occasions has given in to Muslim militants' demands and has released guerrilla leaders in exchange for hostages, usually relatives of prominent politicians.

News
John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'That was the lowest I’d ever felt'
Life and Style
healthIt isn’t greasy. It doesn’t smell. And moreover, it costs nothing
News
peopleThe report and photo dedicated to the actress’s decolletage has, unsurprisingly, provoked anger
Property
Home body: Badger stays safe indoors
property
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
The programme sees four specialists creating what they believe are three perfect couples, based on scientific matchmaking. The couples will not meet until they walk down the aisle together
tvUK wedding show jilted
Arts and Entertainment
US pop diva Jennifer Lopez sang “Happy Birthday” to Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, president of Turkmenistan
musicCorporate gigs become key source of musicians' income
Arts and Entertainment
You've been framed: Henri Matisse's colourful cut-outs at Tate Modern
artWhat makes a smash-hit art show
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
filmsDaniel Craig believed to be donning skis as 007 for first time
Sport
Mikel Arteta pictured during Borussia Dortmund vs Arsenal
champions league
Voices
Yes supporters gather outside the Usher Hall, which is hosting a Night for Scotland in Edinburgh
voicesBen Judah: Is there a third option for England and Scotland that keeps everyone happy?
Arts and Entertainment
Pulp-fiction lover: Jarvis Cocker
booksJarvis Cocker on Richard Brautigan
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke and Pharell Williams in the video of the song, which has been accused of justifying rape
music...and he had 'almost no part' in writing it
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

HR Manager - Kent - £45,000

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: HR Manager / Training Manager (L&D /...

Senior QA Engineer - Agile, SCRUM

£35000 - £50000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior QA Engineer (Agil...

Marketing Executive - West Midlands - £28,000

£26000 - £28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Digital Marketing Executive (SEO, PP...

Retail Business Analyst

£40000 - £50000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our retail client ...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week