Highlights

 
Quotable
Wars of aggression are the most barbarous of all human endeavors and are, more often than not, the instruments of insane tyrants who hear voices.
Rodrigue Tremblay
Original Letters Blog US Casualties Contact Donate

 
September 5, 2007

Many Iraqis Search Hopelessly for the Kidnapped


by Ahmed Ali and Dahr Jamail

BAQUBA - Amid the violence and chaos in Diyala province, kidnappings continue unabated, bringing an uncertain fate for the abducted and unanswered questions for their families.

Kidnapping has become another form of violence, to add to car bombs, assassinations, displacement, theft, threats, and air strikes.

And kidnapping itself is carried out in all sorts of ways: taking someone from their home at night, from office during the day, in plain sight of civilians and police officers on the street, at false check points, or stopping the car to abduct the person.

Families of those kidnapped are left without knowing who took their loved one, or where the person might have been taken. Panic sets in. Families try to find someone in a position of influence who could help, but usually no one can.

If the person kidnapped is a policeman, member of the Iraqi National Guard (ING) or a translator for the U.S. military, he is usually killed immediately. When a civilian is kidnapped and a couple of weeks pass without a ransom demand, families begin the painful process of checking the local morgue repeatedly.

"When they kill a prisoner, they may drop him in the street as a sign of challenge to the government, or they select a place to be their execution zone," Hussam Nasir, a resident of Baquba (30 mi. northeast of Baghdad), whose brother was kidnapped told IPS. "After they leave this place, a police patrol comes to move the body to the morgue. In the morgue, two pictures are taken from reverse angles to be kept in the computer."

Nasir knows what that can be like. "These pictures are shown to those who come to ask about their relatives. The dead cannot be identified easily because their faces are usually decomposed or exploded, but I knew my brother's face when I saw it."

Thamir Niama, whose brother was detained several months ago, also went through pictures at the morgue.

"When I saw the pictures of my brother, the body had been dressed in an ING uniform even though he is not a member of the ING. When he was abducted, he was wearing a tracksuit. The gangs who do these things make a video tape of the execution in order to get paid for it."

Salim Kadhim from the Qatoun quarter of the city told IPS that his nephew disappeared en route from northern Iraq to Diyala province.

"We received a phone call from a person saying that they had detained our nephew and he would be killed," Kadhim told IPS. Kadhim said he managed to talk with someone in the group involved in the kidnapping. "I was told to never ask about our nephew, and after several days we found the body in the morgue."

There have been so many kidnappings in Baquba that it is almost a relief to find bodies in the morgue, so they may receive a proper burial.

Halima Jasib, whose brother was kidnapped, told IPS that he spoke with a "middleman" for the people who detained his brother. He was asked for a ransom of $20,000.

"We managed to raise the money from friends and relatives who donated generously," Jasib said. "But the middleman took the money, and it's five months, and there is no news of my brother. Now we are sure that he was thrown in the Diyala river or buried in the farms."

Every week now officials in Baquba find groups of bodies buried in farm areas around the city.

There is no informed estimate of how many Iraqis are missing nationwide, but scores are kidnapped daily, and stories of abductions seem endless.

"Our 23-year-old son was a policeman in the directorate-general of police," Mahmood al-Rubai'i told IPS. "One day, while he was coming home after work, a car blocked his way and the men in it took him and his car with them."

Two days after the abduction Rubai'i received a phone call demanding $15,000. He sold a piece of land, and his younger son took the money to the designated drop location.

"He dropped the money in a garbage barrel and returned home hoping they would release our son as promised," Rubai'i told IPS. "We hoped to see our son during the first week after giving the money, but it has been more than six months, and we have no sign he is still alive."

(Inter Press Service)

comments on this article?
 
 
Archives

  • Iraqi Hospitals Suffer From Corruption, Shortages
    12/16/2008

  • Iraq Kidnappings Now Become 'Unofficial'
    8/30/2008

  • Sectarian Clashes Flare Up Again in Iraq
    8/27/2008

  • 'Provincial Saddam' Goes, Finally
    8/15/2008

  • Iraqi Sunnis Complain of Increased Iranian Influence
    8/14/2008

  • Iran May Gain From Iraq's Suffering
    8/8/2008

  • New Iraq Operation Gets Surprise Support
    8/6/2008

  • Iraqis Skeptical About Obama, McCain
    6/25/2008

  • Iraq's Widows Victims of Occupation, Social Codes
    6/19/2008

  • Iraqis Running Out of Water in Rising Heat
    5/10/2008

  • Tense Truce Between Awakening Groups and Iraqi Government
    4/9/2008

  • Shia Battles Spread to Baquba
    4/8/2008

  • In Iraq, Childhood Is a Thing of the Past
    3/11/2008

  • In Baquba, Happiness Is a Memory
    3/8/2008

  • Sahwa Forces Challenge Govt, and Win
    3/6/2008

  • Tensions Rise Between 'Awakening' and Iraqi Govt Forces
    3/1/2008

  • Occupation Strangles Farmers
    3/1/2008

  • Baquba Losing Life and Hope
    2/28/2008

  • Iraq Unemployment Too Becomes an Epidemic
    2/21/2008

  • Iraqis Still Left in the Dark
    2/16/2008

  • A New Force Called Sahwa Shows Its Muscle
    2/14/2008

  • US-Backed Groups Challenge Iraqi Government
    2/12/2008

  • In Iraq, Learning Can Be Dangerous
    2/12/2008

  • Violence Draws Veil Over Women
    2/1/2008

  • Iraqis: 'US the Biggest Producer of Terror'
    1/26/2008

  • Baquba: Under Curfew, This Is No Life
    1/25/2008

  • Fuel Crisis Freezes Iraqi Life
    1/10/2008

  • Iraqi Govt to Slash Food Rations Despite Far Higher Budget Than Saddam
    12/28/2007

  • Education Is the Latest Casualty in Baquba
    12/11/2007

  • Corruption Adds to Baquba's Problems
    11/16/2007

  • Iraq: Millions Trapped in Their Own Country
    11/6/2007

  • In Baquba, Better Security Brings No Reassurance
    11/3/2007

  • Many Iraqis Search Hopelessly for the Kidnapped
    9/5/2007

  • Iraqi Children Robbed of Childhood
    9/3/2007

  • Baquba Caught Between the US and Al-Qaeda
    8/21/2007

  • Sectarianism Splits Security in Diyala
    8/8/2007

  • Baquba Denied the Healing Touch
    7/26/2007

  • Baquba: Living in a Dead City
    7/24/2007

  • In Baquba, Mass Graves Dug to Deal With Death Toll
    7/18/2007

  • Iraq: Al-Qaeda Escapes U.S. Assault
    7/15/2007
  • Ahmed Ali and Dahr Jamail write for Inter Press Service.

    Reproduction of material from any original Antiwar.com pages
    without written permission is strictly prohibited.
    Copyright 2014 Antiwar.com