Fears for business delegation in Mumbai
Friday, November 28, 2008/
Members of a NSW trade delegation caught in the middle of Mumbai terrorist attacks, which includes entrepreneurs and Austrade officials, have yet to be contacted. Over 120 people have been killed in the attacks, including one Australian, and up to 287 inj
A member of the NSW trade delegation has been killed in the Mumbai terrorist attacks, while remaining members have yet to be contacted. Over 120 people have been killed in the attacks, including two Australians, and up to 287 injured by gun-wielding terrorists.
While yesterday it was reported the delegation was safe, it is confirmed 49-year-old North Turramurra businessman Brett Taylor has been killed. Another Australian, former Woollahra councillor Doug Markell, has also been killed.
Austrade chief economist Tim Harcourt says the department’s first priority is establishing the safety of the remaining delegation’s members. It is suspected 26 Australians still remain inside some of the city’s hotels, where terrorists had previously held hostages.
It is unknown whether the delegation’s members are among those trapped inside.
“We’re a bit worried and we’re just trying to make sure everyone was safe. That’s the priority,” Harcourt says. “There was a NSW business delegation in Mumbai, with officials, trade staff, which is part of our network. So we’re at the moment just trying to find out where everyone is.”
Indian External Affairs Minister Shri Mukherjee has confirmed the death of several foreigners, including a 73-year-old British millionaire gunned down in his hotel room.
Reports from the BBC indicate the gunmen, who also used grenade blasts in some of the city’s busiest areas, searched for British and American nationals to take as hostages.
“The most distressing thing is that we are not in a position to vouchsafe for the safety and security of Australian nationals,” Foreign Affairs Minister Stephen Smith says. “That’s a matter of very deep concern for us and we hope that as events unfold that those Australians will ultimately be shown to be safe and secure.”
At least five of the terrorists have been shot dead and three captured by Indian police. The “Deccan Mujahedeen” group has claimed responsibility for the attacks, citing Muslim oppression in India.
The Bombay Stock Exchange closed after the attacks yesterday, but will open again today.