BBC still in the dark over safety of kidnapped journalist

Despite working "tirelessly" with the Gaza authorities, the BBC admitted today that it had no "firm knowledge" of reporter Alan Johnston's condition or whereabouts.

Johnston, the BBC's main correspondent in Gaza, was kidnapped on 12 March as he was leaving his office to go home. His abductors intercepted his car and forced him to go with them. No group has claimed responsibility for the abduction, which has been condemned by President Mahmud Abbas, Prime Minister Ismael Haniyeh and the heads of the leading Palestinian political movements.

Today, the BBC said: "We continue to work tirelessly with the authorities in Gaza and elsewhere to try to locate Alan. However, despite the assurances that we've received about his welfare, we still do not have any firm knowledge regarding his condition or his whereabouts.

"Again, we ask everyone with influence on the situation to intensify their efforts to ensure that Alan is quickly released. We would also like to thank all of those who showed their support at demonstrations in both the UK and the Middle East yesterday."

Johnston's father yesterday made a personal plea for his son's safe return. Graham Johnston said: "He was enjoying the job immensely, he had made friends with many Palestinians, although he did warn us that there was a possibility of being abducted, it went with the territory."

Simon Wilson, the BBC's bureau chief in Jerusalem, said in a statement: "As time passes, we are growing increasingly concerned about Alan's safety. Over the past week, we have worked intensively with the authorities in Gaza and elsewhere to try to locate Alan and we continue to receive assurances that everything possible is being done."

 

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