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Last Updated: Friday, 27 August, 2004, 11:37 GMT 12:37 UK
Profile: Enzo Baldoni
Enzo Baldoni (right) with Iraqi
Baldoni (right): Viewed as an optimist with a sense of adventure
The Italian journalist Enzo Baldoni, who was shot by his captors in Iraq, had a taste for visiting the world's war zones.

The independent journalist, who also worked as a volunteer for the Red Cross, also reported from Colombia, Chiapas in Mexico, Myanmar and East Timor.

The 56-year-old, from Umbria, was married with two children, Gabriella, 24, and Guido, 21, who appeared on television to appeal to his captors to release him.

They said he was a "man of peace" who was "trying to save lives in Najaf".

But the kidnappers sent shockwaves through Italy as Baldoni became the second Italian hostage to be killed in Iraq.

Baldoni was on his first trip to Iraq as a freelance journalist for Italian magazine Diario when he disappeared on 19 August.

Interviews

Diario's editor in chief, Enrico Deaglio, told the Sky TG24 news network that Baldoni was "a person who wanted to know, understand, report. Certainly a person who was very good at heart".

Friends and associates also described him as an optimistic man with a taste for adventure and a keen sense of irony.

I am a convinced pacifist and for that reason I am curious to understand what make normal people brandish a gun
Enzo Baldoni
Baldoni started his career working in advertising before moving on to become a copy-writer and, later, a journalist.

He also liked comics and translated Garry Trudeau's Doonesbury into Italian.

Baldoni is reported to have carried out some high-profile interviews during his career, including a meeting with Zapatista leader Subcomandante Marcos in Chiapas and Xanana Gusmao during a visit to East Timor.

During the Gusmao interview, the rebel leader mentioned he was a fan of Inter Milan football club. The club followed up the article by sending Gusmao a shirt.

Inter paid tribute to Baldoni on their website on Friday, saying he was a "witness of history and seeker of the truth".

According to La Repubblica newspaper, Baldoni once wrote of himself: "Some people think I am some sort of a Rambo who loves strong emotions and seeing people die.

"I am miles away from that mentality. I am a convinced pacifist and for that reason I am curious to understand what make normal people brandish a gun."


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