Wednesday, August 06, 2003


If this isn't brought under control, our soldiers will suffer the blame.
As instructed by Amjad's captors, family members last weekend took the money to a location 25 miles outside the city. There, they found an oil drum with the boy's name painted on it and dropped the money inside, al-Sayeedi said.

On Monday -- two torturous days later -- the boy was dropped off in his neighborhood at 6 a.m., and an impromptu street celebration erupted among neighbors announcing his survival.

Tuesday, American and Iraqi police officials acknowledged that the plight of the al-Sayeedi family and others has become far too common. The police have broken up four organized rings of kidnappers in the last month, freeing about 10 captive adults and children. Authorities believe many more kidnappers may be at work.

In a raid early Monday, Iraqi police found a kidnapped man and woman who had been severely beaten and tortured -- their toenails pulled out by the captors. After a brief shootout, several kidnappers were arrested and some provided information that led to the rescue of an 8-year-old boy in another location.

Bernard Kerik, chief U.S. consultant organizing the rebuilding of the Iraqi police, said families have been paying up to $30,000 in ransoms. He said many of the kidnappers rotate in from other cities to commit crimes in Baghdad. One ringleader appeared to have ties to the former regime of Saddam Hussein, but money, not politics, appears to be the motivation for the kidnappings.

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