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U.S. HOSTAGE SAYS HE’S WOUNDED IN TAPE RELEASED BY KASHMIRIS

SHARE U.S. HOSTAGE SAYS HE’S WOUNDED IN TAPE RELEASED BY KASHMIRIS

An American tourist being held hostage in northern India has been shot and his fellow British hostage critically wounded, according to a tape released Saturday by their Kashmiri rebel captors.

Donald Hutchings, 42, of Spokane, Wash., said in the audio tape that he was wounded during an Indian attack on the rebels in the mountains."I do not have the strength to speak much," Hutchings said. "But I think Keith (Mangan) is critically ill with many wounds in (his) broken leg. We have no medicines."

Along with the tape, the rebels sent their own statement and two color photographs showing Hutch-ings and Mangan, 33, of Middlesbrough, England, swathed in blood-stained bandages. Hutchings was bandaged around his abdomen; Mangan around his chest and left knee. Mangan appeared to have an intravenous drip in his right arm.

The rebels issued a statement July 21 saying two of the hostages were wounded during a battle with Indian soldiers near the town of Pahalgam. The government has denied any such clash occurred.

Reporters said the voice on the tape matched that on an earlier tape of Hutchings released by the rebels and accepted as authentic by U.S. diplomats. But it was not clear under what conditions it was made.

In their message, the rebels said Hutchings, Mangan and another of the five hostages - Dirk Hasert, 26, of Erfurt, Germany - were critically ill and could die.

"For the last three days they have stopped eating," it said. "Unless immediate treatment is given they may die and for that the Indian government will be responsible."

The statement did not explicitly repeat the threat to kill the five captives but said that if foreign governments wanted the hostages released, they should pressure India to fulfill the rebels' demands.

The rebels scaled down their conditions for the release of the hostages.