BY the third day of negotiating with his son's kidnappers, Rasul Amoore had sold his car, withdrawn his bank savings and borrowed money from his siblings and friends to raise funds for the six-year-old's release.
Even then he was able to gather only $US8000 ($9035) of the $US50,000 demanded by Ahmed's captors. The kidnappers eventually dropped their ransom to $US20,000 - still more than twice the amount Mr Amoore could possibly raise- after the confectionery shop owner in east Baghdad pleaded that their information about his supposed wealth was untrue.
Mr Amoore, angered and tormented by the kidnappers, then decided to gamble with his son's life. "Just kill him," said the father of four during a heated telephone negotiation with the lead captor. "Just kill him and I'll consider I've given his soul as a gift to God."
Four hours later the kidnappers released Ahmed unharmed, but only after they had received $US10,000 in payment.
Kidnapping has overtaken burglaries, robberies, car theft and other crimes to become the biggest criminal activity in many areas of Baghdad.
Insurgents and gangsters are increasingly abducting children to raise funds for terrorism or line their pockets.
These days, money has become the main motive for kidnapping, unlike during the civil war in Baghdad in 2006 and 2007 when people were captured and killed for sectarian reasons, according to Brigadier General Faisal Malik Mohsin, commander of the Iraqi Federal Police's al-Rasheed district in southwest Baghdad.
Women are playing a bigger role because they are less likely to arouse suspicion, he said. They are paid by gangs to abduct the children, but negotiations for the captive's return are handled by male gang leaders.
Source: The Australian