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Kidnapping gangs return to Baghdad and terrorize its people

By Ali Shetab

Azzaman, October 27, 2009

Abduction for ransom is making a comeback in Baghdad, according to recent letters sent to the newspaper.

Violence in general and kidnapping in particular had receded in the past two years. But conditions seem to have aggravated in the past few months.

The inhabitants of numerous Baghdad quarters ľ Benouk, Sumer and Tarbiya ľ all in the Rasafa side of the capital say they no longer feel secure due to "the resurgence of gangs specialized in abduction and killing."

"Our areas enjoyed improved security conditions in the past months, but violence is returning," one letter said.

There are signs of the government losing its grip on the situation, particularly in Baghdad which has recently been the scene of deadly car bombings in which hundreds of people have been killed.

"Gangs bent on abducting children and stealing cars have resurfaced in some districts, instilling fear and terror in the hearts of their inhabitants," the letter added.

The inhabitants, who refused to have their names published, urged the government to intensify security measures in their areas and deploy more police and army personnel in them.

"Gangs abducting children for money have resurfaced in the Tarbiya District where parents live in terror for fear of their children being kidnapped," one letter said.

The letter said many parents now accompany their children on their way to school and wait for them there to walk or drive them home.

The letters reminded the government of their previous pleas to intensify security measures in their areas.

"We need more police and army patrols, particularly close to schools and sensitive areas," the letter said.

The three districts have been among the most restive in Baghdad since the 2003-U.S. invasion.

They have been the scene of car bombings and the kidnapping of university professors for ransom.

The residents fear that the relative quiet they enjoyed in the past two years would not be any longer there if the government fails to act.





:: Article nr. 59472 sent on 28-oct-2009 15:58 ECT

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