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Iraq: a leading environmentalist kidnapped by armed men, according to his family

2023-02-05T08:55:33.351Z


A famous environmental activist in Iraq, very involved in the preservation of the mythical marshes of the south, was kidnapped by armed men near...


A famous environmental activist in Iraq, very involved in the preservation of the mythical marshes of the south, was kidnapped by armed men near Baghdad, his family reported on Sunday, saying they had not heard from him for four days.

Jassim al-Assadi, 65, directs the environmental defense association Nature Iraq and regularly speaks in the Iraqi and foreign media for his work to raise awareness about the marshes, listed as World Heritage by Unesco and threatened in recent times. recent years by drought and water shortages.

The environmentalist was “

driving on the highway from Hilla to Baghdad.

Arrived 5 km from the capital, two vehicles stopped him, armed men in civilian clothes handcuffed him and put him in one of the vehicles to take him to an unknown place

, "Jassim's brother told AFP. al-Assadi, Nazim, stating that the kidnapping took place on Wednesday morning.

"

My cousin was with him, they abandoned him on the road

," he said.

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He assured that the kidnappers had not contacted the family but that the police were continuing the search.

We need time to understand the reasons

,” he lamented.

Speaking on condition of anonymity in Baghdad, a security official confirmed to AFP on Sunday that the family had informed law enforcement of the disappearance.

Relative stability

Although Iraq has regained some semblance of normality and relative security stability after decades of conflict, assassinations and kidnappings of activists or officials remain common, in a country still shaken by tribal conflicts and where civil society deplores the existence armed factions and a proliferation of easily obtainable weapons.

Born in 1957 in the marshes, Jassim al-Assadi is a hydraulic engineer by training.

Since 2006, he has participated in various initiatives aimed at restoring the marshes of southern Iraq, which were almost completely dried up in the 1990s under Saddam Hussein.

Threatened by drought in one of the countries most exposed to climate change according to the UN, these marshes are suffering from the drop in rainfall, the scorching summer temperatures which accelerate the phenomenon of evaporation, and above all the reduced flow of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. , due to dams built upstream in neighboring countries, Turkey and Iran.

Source: lefigaro

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