Kidnappers feed off IS insurgency in Iraq’s disputed territories

In the lawless areas between federal government and KRG control, insurgents and gangsters are making money and terrorizing civilians with kidnapping and extortion operations.
Peshmerga forces patrol in the Giraw area, east of Tuz Khurmatu, in June 2017. (ARAZ MOHAMMED/Iraq Oil Report)

ZINANA - In a tunnel near the Sarqala oil field, in northeastern Diyala province, three truck drivers were trying to escape.

Kidnappers claiming to be part of the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS) militant group had abducted them on Feb. 6 near the Khor Mor gas field, 50 kilometers away in northern Salahaddin province, and they were demanding an $80,000 ransom. After two weeks in a makeshift underground prison, one of the victims escaped and alerted security forces, according to a senior Peshmerga official and senior Asayesh official in the area.

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