Given the spate of beheading victims, Army Spc. Keith “Matt” Maupin’s capture in mid April had fallen of the news reporting cycle. Wizbang commenter Eric provided a summary of his hostage situation yesterday. Unfortunately just as many people were learning about his status things changed dramatically, and for the worse.
BAGHDAD, Iraq – Iraqi militants killed an American soldier they have held hostage for nearly three months, saying the killing was because the U.S. government did not change its policy in Iraq, Al-Jazeera television reported Tuesday.
News of the killing of Spc. Keith M. Maupin, 20, of Batavia, Ohio, came hours after the United States returned sovereignty in Iraq to an interim government. The report did not say when Maupin was killed.
Maupin was captured during an ambush on a convoy west of Baghdad on April 9.
The Arab satellite station aired video showing a blindfolded man sitting on the ground. Al-Jazeera said that in the next scene, gunmen shoot the man in the back of the head, in front of a hole dug in the ground. It did not show the killing.
Maj. Willie Harris, public affairs spokesman for the Army’s 88th Regional Readiness Command, said the videotape is being analyzed by the Department of Defense.
“There is no confirmation at this time, that the tape contains footage of Matt Maupin or any other Army soldier,” he said, adding that the Maupin family was briefed “as to the existence of a videotape.”Al Jazeera ran a story featuring the following video image:
Jeff Quinton has a roundup of the reaction from blogs.
If you would like to learn more about Matt Maupin, I recommend the Cincinatti Enquirer page dedicated to coverage on his ordeal.
If you want to see something wonderful (and now truly heartbreaking) read this letter to the Maupin family from 6th grader Jacob Kelch.
Update: As you can see from the video still above, it’s hard to identify the person in the video. Rather than stating that he was murdered, news reports should more accuratly report that he was “apparently murdered” or similar language.
According to the al Jazeera broadcast a voice on the tape (speaking in Arabic) identifies the victim as Maupin, captured nearly 3 months ago after his convoy was ambushed outside Baghdad.