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Last Updated: Saturday, 15 July 2006, 11:44 GMT 12:44 UK
Gunmen abduct Iraq Olympic chief
Map of Iraq
Gunmen in Iraq have kidnapped the country's Olympic committee chief and 30 other officials, police have told the BBC.

Olympic chief Ahmed al-Hadjiya and the officials were taken when their convoy was stopped by uniformed men.

Police said the incident took place at a conference centre near central Baghdad, and that the kidnappers wore Iraqi army or police uniforms.

The BBC's Adam Brookes in Baghdad said it was unclear where they were taken.

Motives unclear

He said the officials were on their way to the conference in Baghdad's Sadoun district in a fleet of as many as 20 cars when they were stopped by the uniformed men. "They took control of the convoy, and it was forced to drive away," our correspondent said.

He said it was not known who was responsible for the abduction.

Our correspondent said the officials may have been protected by private security or interior ministry personnel.

"Kidnappings are very common in Baghdad, sometimes they are political... sometimes they are carried out for ransom."

He said Mr al-Hadjiya was well known in Iraq but did not seem to have any "overt political affiliations".

The Reuters news agency reported some major abductions carried out by uniformed men have later turned out to be arrests carried out by security agencies.

The AFP agency said the abducted officials also included committee secretary general Amr Abdel Jabbar and the head of Iraq's Tae Kwon Do federation, Jamal Abdel Karim.

Prior to the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, Iraq's Olympic committee was led by former President Saddam Hussein's son Uday.


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