Journalists' families worry for their safety

  • Nation
  • Monday, 14 Apr 2003

KUALA LUMPUR: For the family of RTM cameraman Omar Salleh, one of the three Malaysian journalists abducted in Iraq, yesterday was an emotional roller coaster. 

His sister Zainab Salleh, 50, said she only learnt about the incident at noon yesterday and endured shock and worry before breathing a sigh of relief upon hearing over the 1.30pm news that the journalists had been released. 

“However, I was again made to worry when told that it was unconfirmed news. I waited until 3pm before getting confirmation that he has been released. 

RELIEVED:Nordiyati answering the phone call from her husband,who is safe in Baghdad,yesterday.Looking on are their children,Mohd Irwan,19,and Nurul Syahirah,11. - Bernamapic

“But I am still worried. I won’t be able to sleep well until I see his face on TV and know for sure that he is alive,” she said when interviewed at her home in Taman Nirvana yesterday afternoon. 

Zainab said her brother was a seasoned traveller as he was always sent for overseas assignments and she had never felt nervous for him until this mission. 

“When he left for the assignment, I felt worried and sad but whenever friends and relatives spotted him on the TV screen and asked about him, I felt so proud,” she said. 

Her anxieties were finally put to rest when Omar called at 8pm last night. 

“He told me he is fine and to stop crying as there is nothing to worry about. He said he was not harmed although they had pointed a gun at him,” she said. 

Omar, New Straits Times photographer Anuar Hashim and The Sun journalist Terence Fernandez were abducted by a group of armed men on Saturday but released several hours later. 

Following their release, Anuar called his wife Nordiyati Awang, 43, yesterday at 3.41pm at their home in Pandan Indah to say he was well. 

In Petaling Jaya, Fernandez’s wife Maria Angela Jesudass was also relieved that he is safe. 

“I am really thankful that he has been released and relieved that he is unharmed. Both our families are hoping that he returns as soon as possible,” she said when contacted at home. 

Jesudass, 28, also a journalist with The Sun, said following reports of the abduction, she had been bombarded by phone calls from the local media, enquiring about the latest developments.

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