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12 Nepalese Civilian Hostages Murdered In Iraq

Annan 'Appalled' By Murder Of 12 Nepalese Civilian Hostages In Iraq

Voicing his condemnation of the gruesome murder of a dozen Nepalese civilian hostages in Iraq, Secretary-General Kofi Annan said today he was especially concerned by the cruel use of the killings as a public spectacle.

Mr. Annan was "appalled and dismayed" by the murders of the 12 men and offered his deepest sympathy and condolences to the families of the victims, according to a statement released by his spokesman at UN Headquarters in New York.

"The Secretary-General is particularly disturbed by the cruel nature of these crimes and their use as public spectacle," the spokesman's statement read.

Saying the taking of hostages or the killing of innocent civilians can never be justified, Mr. Annan called for all hostages in Iraq to be released immediately and appealed to all sides to show respect for human life.

Meanwhile, the Secretary-General's Deputy Special Representative in Iraq, Ross Mountain, today discussed developments in Najaf and Sadr City with Minister of State Daoud Kassem.

Iraqi authorities invited the United Nations to attend a national conference held today in Baghdad on the reconstruction and rehabilitation of Sadr City. The conference was attended by Prime Minister Iyad Allawi and members of his cabinet.

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