Iraq: Haider al-Abadi declares war on kidnap gangs, criminality
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Abadi vowed to go after kidnapping and crime gangs in Baghdad.
This came as arrest warrants were being issued against a number of people associated with senior Iraqi officials and the Popular Mobilisation militia and cover criminal charges such as murder, kidnapping, and blackmail.
Abadi warned during a security conference speech in Baghdad from the "existence of gangs who are trying to challenge the state through kidnappings, armed robbery, and other crimes," calling on security forces "not to be phased by political influences and to deal with these gangs the way they would deal with terrorists."
Abadi also stressed the "need to review the performance of security forces and identify mistakes, in order to maintain security in the capital, which represents the core of the state."
In a related development, a source in the judicial authorities has revealed to al-Araby al-Jadeed that "arrest warrants had been issued against a number of people associated with senior officials in the Iraqi state and the Popular Mobilisation militia, for criminal charges such as murder, kidnapping, threatening, and blackmail," pointing out that "the executive bodies had received the arrest warrants and will begin acting on them in the coming days."
The source who asked not to be identified predicted that "the arrest of some important figures or some of the elements that are connected with them will lead to big security and political problems," clarifying that the arrests will "involve officials who held senior government positions during eight years of the rule of former Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki."
Local Iraqi media have reported that an advisor of Maliki was arrested on charges of terrorism.
Buratha News Agency said: "a security force has arrested today [Wednesday] the Dean of the Imam Kadhim College, Fadhil al-Shara, who is the adviser of former Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, in accordance with article four of the Anti-terrorism Law," pointing out that the "reason for arresting him is for his [alleged] involvement in planning and executing the assassination of religious and political figures."