Mar 16 2013
By Ali Latif
Azzaman, March 16, 2013
More than 16,000 Iraqis have been kidnapped and still without a trace since the 2003-U.S. invasion, according to statistics gathered by the Ministry of Human Rights.
It is the first time the ministry reveals official figures about Iraqis who had gone missing in the wars and turbulence that followed the country’s invasion by a U.S.-led coalition in 2003.
“Our statistics show that there are 16,000 people who have been kidnapped but the figure must be much higher than that since there are certainly cases not yet reported to us,” said Arkan Saleh the head of the ministry’s Humanitarian Affairs Section.
Saleh said the ministry was trying its best to solve these cases but to no avail.
Families visit the ministry regularly asking for their beloved ones, he said, adding that there was little he could do.
The issue of missing Iraqis is very sensitive since it adversely affects not only the future of wives and children but it also has legal and religious implications.
Shortly after the U.S. invasion, Iraq witnessed a period of kidnapping for ransom and tens of thousands of Iraqis were reported to have been abducted.
But Saleh not all who were kidnapped return home.
Asked if he believed any of the 16,000 unaccounted-for Iraqis were still alive, Saleh said: “I do not think so.”
He said most of these cases took place at least five to six years ago and the fact that we still have no clue about their whereabouts one could assume that they had been victims of the spiral of violence particularly in the years 2005 to 2008.
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