The London based Iraqi newspaper Azzaman said Saturday that ten children including an infant had been kidnapped in the past two weeks, in the south eastern Iraqi city of al-Amara.

 

Kidnappers usually ask families of the kidnapped children for a ransom if they want to see their sons and daughters returned. The kidnapped children are regularly kept in deserted or half-built houses in the city's suburbs.

 

Well-known political and social figures from al-Amara city have been asking the occupation forces and Iraqi police to do more to stop this harrowing crime, but so far their efforts have come to no avail.

 

Organised mafias

 

"The kidnapping is not of children only, wealthy men and women are also being kidnapped. The kidnappers have their own prisons, and force the family of the victim to buy a satellite phone in order to communicate with them, because it can not be traced by Iraqi police", Noman Ahmed a former police officer told Aljazeera.net

 

He said: "In the past gangs used to steal cash and jewellery, but now they are finding it easier and more profitable to ask for a ransom, they have become organised mafia."

 

Child kidnappers ask not less than $ 20,000 to free each person. Most Iraqi parents do not send their children to school and those that do escort them between home and school.