Ousted Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein's daughters, in interviews Friday, expressed deep affection for their father but said they don't know where he is and last saw him a week before the war against Iraq started.
Raghad and Rana Hussein, who received sanctuary Thursday in Jordan spoke with CNN and Al-Arabiya at a royal palace in Jordan’s capital Amman, where they are staying with their nine children.
They described leaving Baghdad for a house on its outskirts the day the capital fell to occupation forces on April 9. "The farewell moments were terrible," Raghad told Al-Arabiya.
"He was a very good father, loving, has a big heart," Raghad told CNN. Asked if she wanted to convey a message to her father, she said, "I love you and I miss you."
"He had so many feelings and he was very tender with all of us," Rana said. "Usually the daughter is close to her mother, but we would usually go to him. He was our friend."
They refused to discuss their brothers Udai and Qusai, who were recently killed in a firefight with US forces in Mosul.
The daughters said they don't know the whereabouts of their father. "Nobody knows where he is. Nobody tells me that," Raghad told CNN. "He's not going to tell anybody where he is now, even my mother."
Raghad told Al-Arabiya that the quick fall of Baghdad came as a "great shock" and she blamed it on a betrayal by associates of the toppled leader. With regret, those my father trusted, whom he had put his absolute confidence in and whom he had considered on his side - as I understood from the newspapers - betrayed him," Raghad said.
Raghad said she spent the night before Baghdad fell listening to the radio in the Mansour district of the Iraqi capital in the company of Rana and their children.
"I used to pray and then tell my sister Rana, 'I think that everything is over,'" she said. "I was convinced that everything was over."
Furthermore, at noon the day Baghdad fell, Rana said Saddam sent a car from the special security forces, "who told us to leave." She said Qusai's wife and children were with them.
"The boys were hugging each other and crying," Rana said. "We left Baghdad. Then I met my mother (Sajida) after a few hours and Hala (younger sister)."
She said they were put in a house on Baghdad's outskirts. "There was almost no link with (my) father and brothers because everything was over."
Raghad said they hope to stay in Jordan.
"For the first time for four months now, since the war started, this is the first day I put my head on the pillow and I feel at peace," she told CNN. "I'd love to stay in Jordan. I'd like to stay here for the rest of my life." (Albawaba.com)
© 2003 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com )