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Last Updated:  Thursday, 3 April, 2003, 15:40 GMT 16:40 UK
Missing cameraman's wife makes plea
Fabienne Nerac
Mrs Nerac is waiting for information

The wife of an ITN cameraman missing in Iraq has been given a personal pledge from US Secretary of State Colin Powell that he will do all he can to find out what happened to her husband.

French Cameraman Fred Nerac and his colleague have not been seen they were caught up in an incident just south of Basra last month in which ITN reporter Terry Lloyd died.

His wife Fabienne confronted Mr Powell at a press conference at the Nato meeting in Brussels asking for more information about the circumstances surrounding her husband's disappearance.

I am writing to beg you, and to appeal to your humanity, to break your silence
Fabienne Nerac to US Government

He told her he had received her e-mail while on a plane and had immediately called for military personnel in the region to investigate.

"I give you my personal promise we will do everything we can to find out what happened," he told her.

In her letter Mrs Nerac said: "I am writing to beg you, and to appeal to your humanity, to break your silence and tell me what happened that day."

'Crossfire'

Meanwhile ITN said it had new information its crew may have been caught in crossfire between coalition and Iraqi forces on 22 March.

It is also calling for military commanders to explain what happened.

Mr Nerac, 43, and Hussein Osman, a Lebanese-born translator, have not been heard of since.

Terry Lloyd
ITN wants to know how its reporter died
It had been thought the 50-year-old war correspondent Mr Lloyd had died in a 'friendly fire incident".

But ITN said its own search of the area had found evidence to suggest Mr Lloyd's team had come under fire from coalition forces "some of it at quite close range" and from Iraqi troops in the opposite direction.

Stewart Purvis, ITN chief executive and editor-in-chief, said: "We know that both US and British units were on the spot but 12 days after the event, we still do not have any kind of official account.

"We're now clear that somebody in the American or British military knows what happened next but they have not come forward".

The company said the team were driving towards coalition units when they were flanked by vehicles carrying Iraqi soldiers and "immediately came under sustained fire".

Mr Lloyd's body was identified among casualties taken to a Basra hospital from the scene.

Security firm AKE found the "burned-out wrecks" of Mr Lloyd's car and two Iraqi vehicles at the scene with spent ammunition of varying calibres in the vehicles, said ITN.

It also said it had contacted Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon and US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to press coalition commanders to produce a formal account.

BBC cameraman dies

The plea came after it was announced that a cameraman working for the BBC in northern Iraq had been killed after stepping on a landmine.

Kaveh Golestan was killed instantly in the incident which happened when four men were driving near the town of Kifri.

Kaveh Golestan
The incident highlights the dangers our news crews face all the time in Iraq
BBC Director General Greg Dyke

Producer Stuart Hughes, who was working with Mr Golestan, was also injured in the explosion, but correspondent Jim Muir and a local translator escaped unhurt.

Mr Hughes, from Cardiff, is being treated at a US medical unit near Sulaymaniyah for injuries to his foot.

Mr Golestan was a Pulitzer-prize winning freelance cameraman who worked for the BBC's Tehran bureau.

He is survived by a wife and a 19-year-old son.

BBC director of news Richard Sambrook said: "Kaveh Golestan was an outstanding photojournalist who had worked in support of freedom of expression in his native Iran and elsewhere and was well known to many western news organisations.

On Sunday, veteran Channel 4 reporter Gaby Rado was found dead in the car park of a hotel in Kurdish-controlled northern Iraq. It is thought he had fallen from the top of the hotel.

And an Australian cameraman, Paul Moran, was killed in a car bomb in the northern Iraqi town of Khurmal on 22 March.





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