Wave of Kidnappings Continues in Baghdad
Jack Fairweather of the Independent reports that the wave of kidnappings that has racked Baghdad continues, at an average of 2 a day. The typical ransom is $25,000. If we extrapolate out that rate, it is 720 abductions per 5 million people per annum (.014 percent of the population is abducted each year).
Colombia has the world’s highest criminal kidnapping rate, with 3,000 abductions a year. That is 3,000 abductions per 38 million people per annum, or .0008 percent of the population being kidnapped each year. Obviously, Baghdad’s rate is higher. This conclusion should be repeated. The wave of criminal kidnappings in Baghdad makes it a world leader in abductions, outstripping even Colombia.
Fairweather writes of Abbas Jassim, who was recently abducted. ‘ On entering Baghdad he was blindfolded. He remembers being led into a house and put in a small room beneath stairs. He was then bound and gagged. That night the kidnappers beat him for 20 minutes on his stomach and legs. His ransom had been set at a million dollars. Abbas was allowed a tearful call home the next morning. “We were powerless to do anything,” said Mohammed Mehsen, his cousin. “The women of the family were weeping in one corner, the men shouting angrily. None of us could see why they were hurting the kindest and most well-liked man in the neighbourhood.” Over the next few days, friends and family began arriving at Abbas’ house . . . Within a week the family had raised $250,000. In daily conversations with the kidnappers the family held their nerve and brought the price down. A night for the handover was set. Captain Feroz Mohammed, of the Special Crimes unit, has worked on hundreds of kidnap cases since the summer. Unfortunately, few Iraqis have so far trusted him and his men – Abbas’ family among them. “People are very scared,” the policeman said yesterday. “They don’t trust our ability to catch criminals. If people worked with us we would be able to bring kidnapping to an end.” ‘