Foreign ministry: Qatari hunters kidnapped in Iraq (updated)
With reporting from Riham Sheble
Qatar’s foreign ministry has confirmed the kidnapping of a group of Qatari hunters in Iraq and said it is working with authorities there to free them, QNA reports.
The group consisting of more than two dozen people was taken near Iraq’s border with Saudi Arabia early this morning, Reuters said.
“An armed group driving dozens of pickup trucks kidnapped at least 26 Qatari hunters from their camp in the area of Busaya in Samawa desert near Saudi borders,” the newswire quoted Samawa governor Falih al-Zayady as saying.
Reuters quoted an unnamed police colonel as saying 100 gunmen, armed with light and medium weapons, broke into the Qataris’ hunting camp and abducted the Gulf nationals at around 3am today.
The BBC, citing an unnamed source, said the attackers were driving “about 50” four-wheel drive vehicles.
French newswire AFP quoted a local council member from the province as confirming the number of individuals who were kidnapped but did not specify their nationality.
QNA quoted the country’s foreign ministry as saying the Qataris had the necessary permits from Iraq’s Interior Ministry to enter that country.
“(Qatar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs) has been in constant contact with the Iraqi government and the highest ranking political and security authorities in Iraq to understand in detail everything surrounding the kidnapping incident of Qatari citizens and is working closely with the Iraqi government on freeing them as soon as possible,” the statement said.