Iraqi government forces supported by fighters from the Abbas Brigade, which fight under the umbrella of the Shiite popular mobilisation units, advance in village of Badush some 15 kilometres northwest of Mosul during the ongoing battle to retake the city's west from Islamic State (IS) group jihadists on March 7, 2017. (Mohammed SAWAF / AFP)
NEW DELHI - India has said 39 of its nationals abducted by Islamic State militants in the Iraqi city of Mosul three years back may be lodged in a jail in nearby Badush.
Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said that fighting between Iraqi forces and Islamic State militants are still going on in the west part of Mosul and that Indian authorities have been informed that the missing Indians were last located in a prison in Badush.
"Once fighting stops in Badush and the area is cleared, we can probably find out about the whereabouts of the missing nationals," Swaraj told the media Sunday.
As soon as the announcement of liberation of the city of Mosul was made by the Iraqi government last week, the Indian External Affairs Ministry said it had activated various channels to locate the Indians who were kidnapped by Islamic State militants in 2014.
In June, the external affairs minister said during a meeting with families of the kidnapped Indians that a source in Iraq had provided information about a group of Indians holed up in a church in Mosul.
"They are alive and everything possible was being done to ensure their safe return," she had reportedly reassured the family members.