RAMADI, Iraq (Oct. 6, 2009) – Iraqi forces disrupted a kidnapping organization and saved a young kidnapping victim in Iraq in recent days, military officials reported.
Iraqi forces in Anbar province arrested several kidnappers, which led to the Sept. 25 rescue of a 10-year-old Iraqi boy.
The boy had been kidnapped Sept. 15, officials said. The team referred to one of the kidnappers as “The Ghost,” because he constantly moved from one location to another, said Iraqi army Col. Saad Muhammed Hamoud, Anbar special weapons and tactics team commander.
“Because he kept moving, we came up with a new plan and coordinated with the father and had him ask to talk to his son,” Hamoud said. “We were planning for every [possibility].”
Iraqi forces later determined that one of the kidnappers used a second phone to talk to the boy during the conversation. While the boy and his parents were talking, the kidnapper held the speaker of one phone to another phone, which displaced the kidnapper’s actual location.
As Iraqi forces raided various locations, the kidnappers constantly relocated in a tireless effort not to be found. The boy said the kidnappers had taken him into the desert and left him alone at one point.
The boy’s father, Khalaf Mishaan, worked with SWAT members to buy time until he could gather the ransom money. During this time, the kidnappers came together in one location.
Security forces then were able to locate two of the kidnappers. The following day, two men, who are brothers, were arrested. While the arrest took place, the boy was able to call his father and tell him where he was. The boy’s father then called Hamoud, who realized that he was not far from the boy’s location.
Fearing capture, the remaining kidnappers had put the boy in the trunk of a vehicle and drove him around in circles to confuse him before dropping him off in a neighborhood nearby. When they dropped him off, the boy found a concerned resident who let him use the phone to call his father.
After his rescue and the suspects’ arrests, three individuals came forward and informed the authorities of the kidnappers’ locations. These witnesses previously had been kidnapped by what Iraqi security forces believe is the same group of individuals.
Following ransom payment, these victims had been released, Hamoud said.
When Iraqi forces investigated the other kidnap stories, they discovered that the kidnappers held ties to insurgents and that the ransom payments were to be used for criminal and terrorist activity, officials said.
The boy’s father also had been kidnapped before.
When he worked as the communications chief throughout Anbar in August 2004, men with ties to the insurgency began working within his company. When he refused to work for these men, he was taken from outside his work and held captive, Mishaan said.
“I asked them why they had kidnapped me, [and] they said “because you never helped us with finance,” he explained. “I knew then they were from an al-Qaida group. They kept me for seven days until my brother was able to collect the money and pay the ransom.
“When they kidnapped my son, they used the same tone, Mishaan continued. “When I met Colonel Saad, I trusted myself, and it gave me courage.”