Who’s holding my son, asks mother


  • Nation
  • Friday, 25 Jul 2003

By SIRA HABIBU and K. KASTURI DEWI

PENANG: The whereabouts of Malaysian student Mohd Abdullah Osman, who was last seen crossing the Syrian border to return home, are still unknown, his mother Faridah Abdullah said.  

Faridah said her heart sank when Wisma Putra officials conveyed the news to her yesterday that her son was not under the custody of US troops in Iraq.  

“If he is not under US custody, then who is holding him captive?” she asked in exasperation. 

Wisma Putra told The Star that it had been informed by the United States that no Malaysian was held captive in any of the detention camps in Iraq. 

However, it said it had asked the American authorities to verify the information again as the list of detainees might not have been updated. 

Mohd Abdullah’s family feared the worst when a self-proclaimed Iraqi businessman approached them on July 13, informing them that Mohd Abdullah was detained by US troops along with 42 others as they were crossing the Syrian border. 

The Iraqi man, in his 30s, was arrested last Thursday after Faridah lodged a police report stating he had asked her to follow him to Baghdad with “some US dollars” to help secure her son’s release.  

Faridah had stated in her report that the Iraqi man had shown her a letter purportedly from the Malaysian embassy in Syria, which stated that Wisma Putra was informed by the Iraqi man that her son had been arrested by US troops. 

“Even the embassy in Syria is now suspicious, as they did not release such a letter,” she said. 

Faridah said that Wisma Putra also informed her that US troops would be screening the detainees’ list again and that the result would be made known to her next week. 

“I pray to God for my son’s safety,” she said when contacted at her daughter’s house in Kuala Lumpur yesterday. 

Mohd Abdullah’s father Osman Abdullah said he was having sleepless nights worrying about his son. 

“Now, I am even more worried. At least, if he is under US custody, we know we can trace him somehow,” said Osman. 

Mohd Abdullah, 35, who was doing his Masters in Hadith at Saddam University, was one of three Malaysian students who had refused to leave Iraq when war broke out, saying he was determined to complete his studies. 

Mohd Abdullah told his mother in May that he was making preparations to return to Malaysia.

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