Gunmen kidnap at least 17 Turks in Iraq capital

2015-09-02 10:01

Baghdad, Sept 2, 2015 (AFP) -Gunmen kidnapped at least 17 Turkish employees of a company building a football stadium in the Sadr City area of north Baghdad on Wednesday, security officials said.

A police colonel said that 17 Turks were kidnapped by black-clad gunmen in pickup trucks, while an interior ministry official put the number seized at 18.

The colonel said those kidnapped included three engineers as well as employees of the administrative department and labourers.

The identity of the kidnappers was not immediately clear, and kidnappings for ransom are a persistent problem in Baghdad.

A political motive is also possible, as Sadr City is a stronghold of pro-government Shiite militias battling the Islamic State jihadist group, which overran large areas of Iraq last year.

Ankara has been accused of complacency towards IS and complicity in assisting the jihadist group, which also holds substantial territory in Syria, just over Turkey's southern border.

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