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Last Updated:  Saturday, 12 April, 2003, 15:04 GMT 16:04 UK
Eyewitness: Hospital staff carry guns

By Caroline Hawley
BBC correspondent in Baghdad

Long, hungry queues form outside a working bakery - one of the few signs of a return to normality here.

Vigilante aims gun at suspected looter in Baghdad
A dangerous and chaotic place
The people of Baghdad are desperate now to see public services and security restored.

Looting has continued in many parts of town. Iraq's national museum is one of the latest places to be ransacked.

The American forces are now urging policemen and other public sector workers to return to their jobs and some are beginning now to show up for work.

A spokesman for the US marines, John Jameson, said interviews were being conducted with suitable candidates.

"We are asking people to come here, people who have a knowledge of electrical power, plumbing, how the water purification plants work, anyone who has a knowledge of the basic infrastructure of this city, to help us get that working again and get that back on line," he said.

"It's not really about helping us, it is helping the people of Baghdad and the people of Iraq."

But there is a major catch in all this. American forces concede that for now these people will have to work for free.

"Well I didn't say we weren't going to pay them, I said I didn't know how we were going to pay them right now," John Jameson explained.

I think that is all being worked out, along with the interviews so that we make sure we have the right people doing the right things to rebuild this city."

Weapons finds

Marines are busy destroying a cache of Kalashnikovs found in the centre of Baghdad. They say they are finding abandoned weapons across the town.

But local people are still finding weapons the Americans have left behind, including cluster bombs hanging from a tree in one area of the city.

One woman said she was terrified for her children. I'm calling on the world to help, she said.

Hospitals have been extensively targeted. Some now even have nurses and doctors carrying guns

The new Iraq is a dangerous and chaotic place.

There is still no power in Baghdad or telephone lines. Shops remain shut for fear of looters.

Many households are keeping guns at the ready. I spoke to one man who had four Kalashnikovs by his side. He said he was preparing to defend his own home.

Hospitals have been extensively targeted. Many now even have nurses and doctors carrying guns, in order to protect themselves and vital equipment.

It is very difficult to know for sure why hospitals have been targeted but it reflects the real state of lawlessness here.

On many street corners there are armed people - civilians - and no-one knows who these people are or who they represent.

The fall of Saddam Hussein's regime has left a frightening vacuum and ordinary people are increasingly angry that the Americans and the British have allowed this to happen.


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