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Gunmen Snatch Female Journalist from Baghdad Home

  • VOA News

Iraqi security forces deploy in Baghdad's southwestern Saydiyah neighborhood searching for kidnapped journalist Afrah Shawqi al-Qaisi, in Baghdad, Iraq, Dec. 27, 2016.

A search is being conducted for an Iraqi journalist while her abduction is being investigated by the government, a day after she was taken by gunmen from her Baghdad home.

Afrah Shawqi al-Qaisi was kidnapped Monday shortly after the publication of an article she wrote criticizing Iraq's Interior Ministry.

A local journalism advocacy group said eight armed men claiming to be members of Iraq's security forces came to Qaisi's house Monday night, beat up her brother-in-law and detained her teenage son before making off with her.It is not known where she is being held.

Security forces have been ordered by Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to find her and conduct an investigation.

Qaisi is a veteran journalist and a prominent critic of Iraq's corruption. She also works for Iraq's Culture Ministry.

She had written a report that was critical of an Interior Ministry officer who allegedly beat a school principal for refusing to punish a student who had gotten into a verbal altercation with the officer's daughter.The incident reportedly happened at a school in the southern Iraqi city of Nasiriyiah in front of students and teachers.

The head of Baghdad-based journalism advocacy group Journalistic Freedoms Observatory, Ziyad al-Ajeeli, also said the gunmen stole computers, cell phones, money and gold.

Prime Minister Abadi, who has been taking action to end corruption in Iraq, has told security forces to "exert the utmost effort" to save Qaisi.

Iraq is known as one of the most dangerous countries for journalists.

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