No word on AFP employee kidnapped in Baghdad

5th May 2006, Comments 0 comments

BAGHDAD, May 4, 2006 (AFP) - AFP said Thursday it still has no word on the fate of an employee who was kidnapped exactly a month ago near its Baghdad offices, despite concerted efforts to secure his release.

BAGHDAD, May 4, 2006 (AFP) - AFP said Thursday it still has no word on the fate of an employee who was kidnapped exactly a month ago near its Baghdad offices, despite concerted efforts to secure his release.

Iraqi authorities, the US-led multinational forces and foreign embassies have all been contacted but so far without unearthing any leads on AFP accountant Salah Jali al-Gharrawi, who is 48 and the father of five children.

Gharrawi, who has worked for the agency for almost 15 years, has not been heard from since he was snatched on April 4 after he left the company's Baghdad offices.

Neither AFP nor his family has received any claim of responsibility or demands and they have no information on either Gharrawi's condition or the identity of his abductors.

The Paris-based news agency's chairman, Pierre Louette, on Thursday wrote to Iraq's prime minister-designate, Nuri al-Maliki, to urge the incoming government to exert maximum efforts to locate Gharrawi.

Louette was to meet the French ambassador to Iraq on Friday.

The Iraqi journalists' union, meanwhile, condemned the kidnapping and urged the interior minister to give high priority to Gharrawi's case and to the protection of media workers.

The AFP unions have also issued a message of solidarity with Gharrawi and his family.

Interior Minister Bayan Jabr Solagh has assigned a top aide to take charge of an investigation into Gharrawi's fate.

Solagh, who has been in daily contact with AFP's offices in the Iraqi capital, says all the security services have been briefed on the case but as yet with no results.

In a meeting with AFP's regional director for the Middle East, François Campredon, Solagh has admitted the existence of "forces not under our orders or under the control of the defence ministry that take part in such acts".

Police said Gharrawi was snatched after he left the company's offices by gunmen in two cars. He was forced to abandon his moped and driven off in one of the cars, fitted with tinted windows but no number plates.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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