SPECIAL REPORT: Four bodies found near site of ambush in Iraq

| 4/14/2004

The bodies of at least four men were found Tuesday in a shallow grave in Iraq near Abu Ghraib, the site of Friday’s attack on an American fuel truck convoy, MSNBC reported April 13.

The report said the bodies, thought to be four of the seven civilian contractors missing since Friday, were “mutilated beyond recognition.” Authorities told the network they did not know whether the mutilation occurred during the convoy fire or after the attack.

Seven American contractors, including kidnapped American trucker Thomas Hamill of Macon, MS, were reported among those missing in Iraq after the attack in Abu Ghraib. Sources were not able to confirm whether the bodies were from the convoy.

Halliburton Corp. and its Kellogg Brown and Root subsidiary, which employed the contractors, confirmed that Hamill was kidnapped during an assault on one of the company’s routine missions for the U.S. Army. Published news reports say Hamill was snatched Friday by gunmen who attacked the fuel convoy he was guarding.

Hamill, the six other U.S. contractors and two American soldiers, all missing from the same convoy, were listed as “unaccounted for.” The names of the eight individuals who were with Hamill have not been released by the Department of Defense or Halliburton. All the other missing Halliburton employees were linked to the fuel convoy that included Hamill, but it is not known whether all were truckers.

With more than 700 trucks on Kuwaiti and Iraqi roads, Kellogg Brown and Root estimates its drivers log about 3.3 million miles per month. The company and its subcontractors have lost about 30 personnel while performing services in Kuwait and Iraq.

--by René Tankersley, staff writer

René Tankersley can be reached at rene_tankersley@landlinemag.com.