Family Tells of Harrowing Kidnap - 01.21.2008

Kidnappings of foreign aid workers and journalists have largely dropped off due to these organizations instituting stringent security practices, all but preventing them from accomplishing their work, and nearly every foreign aid agency has now left Iraq, including the Christian Peacemaker Teams who left after four of their teammates were kidnapped in 2006, one of whom was killed. Iraqi civilians however continue to be targeted.

In 2006 Baghdad became a nightmare, more then 200 being kidnapped every day in Baghdad by gangs and militias. The bad security conditions exacerbated the criminal activities of militias and gangs over the last few years. No one goes out late at night or drives expensive cars on the streets of Baghdad. It became normal not to see any modern cars in Baghdad, due to the dangerous situation and the control of gangs in many Baghdad neighborhoods. The Iraqi morgue has filled with unknown corpses over the years. Some families travel every morning to the morgue, looking for their fathers, brothers, or other relatives, because in many cases though the family pays a ransom to the kidnapper they never received their loved one, so they go desperately searching for a corpse, and there are many kidnapped people who, to this moment, have never been found.

The Iraqi government is trying to stop those gangs and militias from kidnapping people, but there are some police patrols and military troops infiltrated by members of certain militias. In several cases they’ve been successful, but there are also many kidnappings still going on in areas outside Baghdad’s control.

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