Jill Carroll Released After Nearly Three Months in Captivity

American reporter Jill Carroll, who was kidnapped three months ago in a bloody ambush that killed her translator, was released from captivity Thursday and said she had been treated well. Renee Montagne talks with Jamie Tarabay.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

American hostage Jill Carroll has been freed in Baghdad after being held for nearly three months. After the release, the freelance reporter talked about her captivity on Baghdad television.

Ms. JILL CARROLL (Freed Hostage): I was kept in a very good, small, safe place, a safe room, nice furniture. They gave me clothing, plenty of food. I was allowed to take showers and go to the bathroom when I wanted. Very good. Never hit me. Never even threatened to hit me.

Jill Carroll speaking about her captivity on Baghdad television. The 28-year-old American says she never knew where she was held in captivity. And joining us on the line now is NPR's Jamie Tarabay in Baghdad.

And Jamie, what do we know more about Carroll's release?

JAMIE TARABAY reporting:

We know she was dropped off near the Iraqi-Islamic Party offices in Western Baghdad. That's a Sunni political group. And from what we understand, she walked inside and the people there called American officials to come and collect her. US Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad gave a press conference this afternoon and he said he met with Jill and he said she was in good spirits and she was anxious to go home. He also said that there weren't any kidnappers in custody yet, and he also said that no one in the US mission was involved in paying a ransom.

MONTAGNE: And we just heard a moment ago from Jill herself. What else has she been saying this morning?

TARABAY: Well, she said that, you know, she was treated well, that she didn't know about the circumstances of her release. She said, you know, they just came to me and said we're going, they didn't tell me what was going on. You know, it just happened. She also said that she got to watch television once and read one newspaper, and she didn't really know what else was going on outside in the rest of the world.

MONTAGNE: Take us back to early January, that first week in January when she was captured. What was she doing at the time and how did it happen?

TARABAY: Jill was taken on January 7. She had gone to interview Adnan Doleni(ph), who is the senior Sunni politician, was belongs to the Iraqi-Islamic Party. And after waiting at his office for 20 minutes with her driver and her translator, and Delani didn't show, she left. They weren't very far from his office when they were approached by gunmen on foot, who took over the car, killed her translator and allowed the driver to escape, and then they made off with Jill.

MONTAGNE: And Delani himself was very quick to call for her release, was he not?

TARABAY: Yeah, the circumstances of the abduction were very suspicious at the time, but he has said all along that he wasn't involved, he had know idea about the circumstances involving her kidnapping, and he has repeatedly called for her to be released.

MONTAGNE: Just briefly, what effect had Carroll's kidnapping on other Westerners?

TARABAY: Well, it again brought home the dangers that we face every day, you know, here just doing our jobs. You can take, you know, you can take as many precautions as possible. I mean I speak Arabic and when I go outside I wear a headscarf and I try to maintain as low a profile as possible. But it doesn't always help. You need to be careful, and this sort of thing just reminds you that security is really important, and the danger is always out there.

MONTAGNE: Thank you very much. NPR's Jamie Tarabay is following events on Jill Carroll's release today in Baghdad.

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