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Last Updated:  Tuesday, 1 April, 2003, 08:25 GMT 09:25 UK
Kenyans tell of capture ordeal
After the rescue
The Kenyan prisoners were found by the First Black Watch Battalion
Two Kenyans taken prisoner by Iraqi gunmen and shown on Arabic television have spoken about their 10-day ordeal after being rescued by British soldiers.

David Shira Mukaria, 53, and Jakubu Maina Kamau, 37, said their captors argued about whether to kill them.

They were taken prisoner in the town of al-Zubayr, near the southern city of Basra, and their faces broadcast on satellite network al-Jazeera.

UK troops found them gagged, bound and alone in a building on Monday after securing the town.

The Kenyans were working for a Saudi-based company contracted by the US to deliver aid.

Jakubu Maina Kamau on al-Jazeera
I remember seeing a man with his finger on the pin of a grenade as they argued about whether they would kill us or not
Jakubu Maina Kamau
They were in a convoy of 18 trucks which had delivered food to a US military camp, when they became detached from the other vehicles on the way back to Kuwait.

A man flagged them down, then more than 20 captors emerged - armed but not wearing uniforms - who beat and robbed them and took them to an abandoned school building.

Mr Mukaria, 53, told The Scotsman newspaper they had no food or water.

"We decided because we are Christians we would ask God to save us or take our souls to heaven. We prayed to God every day.

Prayers

"We could not see them but we heard them talking. Some of them were speaking in English.

KENYAN VOICES
Reaction in Nairobi to the war on Iraq

"Some of them said, 'kill them', some of them said, 'no'. We just prayed and prayed."

As their ordeal was broadcast across the world, it was initially thought they were British, but later confirmed they were from Kenya.

British soldiers of the First Black Watch Battalion were tipped off locally on their whereabouts and found ammunition and weapons in the building.

David Mukaria on al-Jazeera
The men were found alone in a building
Mr Kamau, 37, told The Sun: "I was sure we were going to die.

"I remember seeing a man with his finger on the pin of a grenade as they argued about whether they would kill us or not.

"David and I are both Christians and this morning I said 'We must pray together for a miracle.'

"So we prayed and 30 minutes later the door swung open and there were two British soldiers standing there.

"God must have given them the power to save us. It really was a miracle that they came."

Kenyan newspapers have carried long articles about the fate of the two men with appeals from their families for their release.

Kenya's foreign minister had also urged Iraqi authorities to set them free.


WATCH AND LISTEN
The BBC's Caroline Wyatt
"The war's most unlikely prisoners - two Kenyan lorry drivers captured by the Iraqi militia"



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