Kerala, Centre concerned about nurses’ safety in Iraq

New Delhi : The Kerala government as well as the Centre are concerned about the safety of the 46 nurses who are stranded in an Iraq town, said Chief Minister Oommen Chandy Thursday after he met External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj here.

The 46 nurses from Kerala stranded in Iraq’s Tikrit town hardly slept through the night and till Thursday morning had not boarded a bus brought for them by ISIS militants.

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“The Centre like the state expressed their deep concern over the turn of events in Iraq and like us they are also concerned of the safety of these nurses. They are doing their best to see that these nurses are brought back,” Chandy told reporters here.

Chandy, who arrived in the national capital late Wednesday night, was accompanied by three state ministers when he called on Swaraj.

The first meeting went on for an hour and she again later met him for another 30 minutes.

“(I) am unable to divulge the details of our talks and you (the media) should also show restraint while reporting this,” said Chandy.

Earlier, one of the nurses called up her home in Kerala early morning. She said that they continue to remain in Tikrit and they have not boarded a bus that was brought by the ISIS rebels, who have been demanding these nurses board the bus for their onward travel to Mosul.

Mosul is another stronghold of militants of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Wednesday was the second time in two days that these nurses refused to board the bus at the hospital compound in Tikrit where they have been stranded for more than two weeks.