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Iraqi Sunni politician seized in Baghdad

Amid sectarian tensions, Baghdad provincial council's head taken from his home by unidentified men in military uniform.

Last updated: 26 Jul 2014 11:59
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Al-Adhadh was imprisoned for eight months in 2012 charged with funding terrorism [AFP]

A senior Sunni politician has been taken by armed men from his home in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, according to police.

Riyadh al-Adhadh, head of the Baghdad provincial council, was taken on Friday night by men wearing military uniform and arriving in 10 black 4x4 vehicles, the police officers said.

It was unclear whether he was abducted or arrested by security forces, the officers said.

"Armed men came last night and detained the head of Baghdad provincial council Riyadh al-Adhadh and four of his guards from his house in Adhamiyah," a police colonel told the AFP news agency.

Al-Adhadh, trained as a medical doctor and a member of the Iraqi Islamic Party, Mutahidoon, was imprisoned for eight months in 2012 charged with funding terrorism. He has maintained his innocence.

In September 2013 he survived a bomb attack that killed one of his bodyguards.

Leading Sunni politicians have been repeatedly accused by the Shia-dominated government of supporting armed groups.

The incident comes at a time of mounting sectarian tensions, with Sunni fighters having seized vast expanses of northern and western Iraq and Shia militias having mobilised to help the armed forces fight back.

Nouri al-Maliki, Iraq's prime minister, who is a Shia, discussed al-Adhdah's disappearance with Salim al-Jabouri, the Sunni speaker of parliament, at a meeting on Saturday.

Jabouri called the disappearance a "problem" without saying whether al-Adhdah had been arrested or kidnapped.

Sunnis have long complained of being unfairly targeted by security forces, and their discontent with Maliki's rule is seen as a central cause of the country's unrest.

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