Gunmen abduct 42 detainee in north of Iraq's Baghdad

September 2, 2015 6:01 am 

TIKRIT, Iraq, Sept. 1 — Unidentified gunmen on Tuesday kidnapped 42 detainees set to be freed while transporting them to the Iraqi capital of Baghdad from Salahudin province, a provincial security source said.

The incident occurred in the morning when some 50 militants wearing black uniforms in 20 spurt utility vehicles intercepted buses carrying 42 detainees who were transported from a jail of the army's 17th brigade near the town of Dujail, some 60 km north of Baghdad, to Baghdad where they supposed to release them for lack of evidence on charges of terrorism, the source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

The gunmen abducted the detainees and set free the guards after they took their guns and cell phones, the source said.

It was not immediately clear who were behind the attack on these prisoners, many of whom were held on terrorism charges, the source said. An investigation was underway.

However, similar incidents occurred in the past when gunmen intercepted busses carrying detainees transferred from prisons belonging to military units and shot them dead.

On July 24 last year, gunmen detonated a roadside bomb at convoy of buses carrying prisoners in Taji area, just north of Baghdad, and then shot dead 52 detainees, while on June 23, the gunmen killed 71 detainees when they attacked a convoy of buses in Babil's provincial capital city of Hilla, some 100 km south of Baghdad.

The predominantly Sunni province of Salahudin, which its Tikrit is the hometown of former President Saddam Hussein, has been the scene for deadly battles between the Iraqi security forces backed by paramilitary Shiite militias, known as Hashd Shaabi, and the Islamic State (IS) militants who captured large parts of the province following the June 10 blitzkrieg last year when the group seized large swathes of territories in predominantly Sunni provinces. (PNA)

RMA/SSC

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