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Last Updated: Saturday, 1 November, 2003, 21:07 GMT
Saddam birthplace behind barbed wire

By Jonny Dymond
BBC correspondent, Uja, Iraq

Saddam Hussein's birthplace, the village of Uja, around two hours' drive north of Baghdad, is now surrounded by razor-wire.

US troops have fenced the village off because of concerns about its use by those attacking coalition forces.

Residents have been told they will have to carry American ID cards to get in or out of their village.

Uja residents queuing to get papers
There is little overt hostility to US troops
Crowded up against the gates of a house once used by Saddam Hussein's wife for parties, the residents of Uja wait for processing.

Inside the gate, the men of the town are checked for weapons and then sent in to get their new cards.

Around the village that was Saddam Hussein's birthplace, razor-wire glints in the sun.

Villagers wishing to come and go must now pass through an army checkpoint.

The village has been quiet for some time, but the military suspects that people are slipping in and out, using the place as a base to plan attacks on US forces.

Little overt hostility

"There are some people who've come into town, tried to stir up trouble and plan terrorist activities and other things like that," says Captain Mark Stuffa, American commander in Uja.

"What we're doing is help to divide the peaceful people from the people that are terrorists."

There is a mixed reaction to the fence from residents.

One described it as making the village like a prison; others said they appreciated the extra security it would bring.

There is little overt hostility towards American troops in what was once the heartland of Saddam Hussein, but in a small way another front line has been established in the coalition's battle with its enemies.


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