Masked men kidnap 18 Turkish workers in Baghdad
A contingent of Iraqi security forces has been tasked with tracking down the kidnappers
Turkish foreign ministry spokesman Tanju Bilgic said those kidnapped included 14 workers, three engineers and one accountant. Photograph: Ahmed Saad/Reuters
Masked men in military uniforms have kidnapped 18 Turkish employees of an Ankara-based construction company in Baghdad, bundling them into several SUVs and speeding away, according to Iraqi and Turkish officials.
They said the 18 are employed by Nurol Insaat, a Turkish construction company contracted to build a sports complex in the Shia district of Sadr City.
The kidnappers stormed the construction site, where the workers were sleeping in caravans, breaking down doors and disarming the guards before taking the workers away.
The Iraqi officials said an Iraqi national was kidnapped along with the Turks.
Turkish foreign ministry spokesman Tanju Bilgic said those kidnapped included 14 workers, three engineers and one accountant.
There were no reports of violence.
“The Iraqi authorities for the time being do not have information on how the incident occurred or who captured them,” he said.
In Baghdad, interior ministry spokesman Saad Maan said that authorities are investigating the incident and that a contingent of security forces has been tasked with tracking down the kidnappers.
Associated Press footage of the site taken hours after the kidnapping showed the sports complex to be almost complete. A sign outside said it includes a 30,000-seat football stadium, a track and field facility and a 50-room hotel.
It launched a simultaneous air campaign in northern Iraq against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, a Kurdish militant group.