Wednesday, August 15, 2007


In brazen attack, gunmen in military uniform kidnap deputy oil minister

(AFP) - Gunmen dressed in Iraqi security uniforms kidnapped Deputy Oil Minister Abdel Jabar al-Wagaa from the compound of the state oil marketing company in Baghdad on Tuesday, an official said. "A gang of armed men dressed in Iraqi security uniforms broke into the compound of the State Oil Marketing Organisation and kidnapped several people, including Deputy Oil Minister Wagaa," oil ministry spokesman Asim Jihad said.
Jihad said the daylight raid on the company's compound which also houses residential quarters for its employees took place soon after the closing of the offices. Oil Minister Hussein Shahristani told state-run television that an investigation had been launched and some hostages were even "freed." "At 4:00 pm, a gang wearing Iraqi security uniforms broke into the compound and kidnapped five employees, including Wagaa," the minister said.
"We have marshalled all our forces and are carrying out raids on various hideouts and some of the hostages have been freed," he said without specifying the identity of the rescued victims. Insurgents dressed in security uniforms have often carried out raids on government buildings and abducted employees, many of whom are later found dead.
It was the highest profile kidnapping in Baghdad since five Britons were snatched from the Iraqi finance ministry when men wearing police uniforms stormed the building on May 29. The Britons have still not been released.

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