There are fears of a fresh hostage crisis as the French foreign ministry confirmed reporter Florence Aubenas has gone missing in Iraq.Nothing has been heard from the 43-year-old since Wednesday morning when she left her hotel in Baghdad. It is feared she may have been abducted.
“We’ve declared a state of alert,” explained her editor at French daily Liberation, Antoine de Gaudemar. “We can now proceed with a series of verifications and use everything at our disposal locally, the French embassy, the Iraqi and US authorities, to work throught the different hypotheses.”
The disappearance of Aubenas comes just two weeks after the release of two French journalists held in Iraqi since mid August.
It has prompted the French government to warn reporters not to travel there.
“We know that Baghdad is very dangerous,” said former captive Christian Chesnot. “We know that these people are in Baghdad itself and get into hotels or get you in the street.”
“Personally I feel it’s become really difficult to work in Baghdad and the Sunni areas,” argued former hostages George Malbrunot. “These groups go after journalists.”
Aubenas has been in Iraq since mid December. She is a highly experienced reporter who has worked in Kosovo, Algeria and Afghanistan.