AMMAN, JORDAN, AUG. 8 -- Iraqi officials have separated Americans, West Germans, Britons and French nationals from other foreigners and gathered them in Baghdad's posh, five-star hotels, travelers from the Iraqi capital said today.

In addition, travelers fleeing Kuwait reported that Iraqi soldiers had engaged in raping and looting there.

One West German businessman, Martin Matheis, who arrived at the Inter-Continental Hotel here late this afternoon from Baghdad, said he believed the segregation of the Westerners was "for their own safety" -- not to pressure their governments.

He told journalists that he and a number of colleagues had reported to their West German firm, taken two company cars and driven to the Iraqi border, to the surprise of border police, who waved them through.

A group of 22 Britons reached Amman tonight. They reported that 34 British soldiers who were taken from Kuwait to Baghdad were being well treated and allowed to swim in their hotel's pool in groups of eight and under guard.

In Vienna, however, an Austrian businessman who fled Kuwait after the Iraqi invasion said Iraqi soldiers had raped women and robbed people at checkpoints. Businessman Josef Miskulnig, who fled first into Saudi Arabia with his family, told the Austrian news agency APA that Iraqi trops were "waging a reign of terror" in Kuwait.

Miskulnig said that some women, including a German, had been raped and that Iraqi soldiers were snatching valuables from Kuwait city as residents fled their homes with their belongings.

He told the agency that most Westerners still in Kuwait were terrified to go out on the streeets. Kuwaiti diplomats in Amman said they had received similar reports through a radio-telephone link to Kuwait.

{The British Press Association, quoting a Kuwait hotel manager who had fled to Bahrain, said an Iraqi soldier raped an unidentified woman who had been a passenger on a British Airways jumbo jet trapped in Kuwait by the invasion last week. The attack reportedly took place on a bus ferrying passengers and crew between hotels in Kuwait city.

{Foreign Secretary Douglas Hurd told reporters that he had sent a message "in plain terms" to Iraqi Foreign Minister Tariq Aziz, reminding him of Iraq's responsibility for the safety of British citizens in Iraq and Kuwait. He said Britain had tried to arrange to evacuate its citizens overland through Jordan, correspondent Glenn Frankel reported from London.}

Small groups of frazzled travelers, dazed and thirsty from their long overland journey from Baghdad, trickled into the Jordanian capital today. Jordanian television said about 200 people had made the trip across nearly 600 miles of desert.

The travelers included Britons, Swedes, Spaniards, Germans, Lebanese, Japanese and Italians. Most of them reported that the situation in Baghdad was near normal, and that Iraqis were celebrating in the streets.

One group reported that Iraqi forces had turned back one convoy of Westerners trying to leave Iraq.

Matheis, the West German businessman, said people in Baghdad appeared happy, and foreigners there were allowed to go about their business and to shop.