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Kidnapped Assyrian Killed in Iraq Despite Ransom Paid

MOSUL, Iraq (AFP) -- A Christian glazier was abducted and killed in northern Iraq after his family had paid his kidnappers 15,000 dollars as a ransom for his release, police said on Friday.

Luay Barham al-Malik's decomposed body was found in a field in Nimrud, south of Mosul, the main northern Iraqi city and capital of the Nineveh province, Lieutenant Colonel Mohammed Omar al-Juburi said.

He said Malik, 35, an Assyrian Christian, went missing a week ago after he was contacted by a potential client.

"He was abducted... His family negotiated with his kidnappers and paid them 15,000 dollars in ransom money but Luay never returned home," Juburi said.

Malik had been shot several times in the head, he added. Malik had moved recently to Hamdaniyah, a Christian village east of Mosul, after a spate of murders and threats targeting Christians in Mosul itself.

Eight Christians were killed over a nine-day span in February in and around the city.

In 2008, 40 Christians were killed and 12,000 others fled Mosul and nearby towns following a wave of violence that has sent many members of the shrinking community into exile.

Last November, the New York-based Human Rights Watch warned that minorities including Christians were the collateral victims of a conflict between Arabs and Kurds over control of disputed oil-rich provinces in northern Iraq.

Ethnically mixed Mosul has remained a hotbed of insurgent activity even as levels of sectarian violence have dropped dramatically across Iraq since its peak between 2005 and 2008.

The province is split between Sunni Arab and Kurdish communities who are bitterly divided over the ambitions of Kurdish leaders to incorporate large parts of it into their autonomous region in the north.

It also has Assyrian, Shabak, Turkmen and Yazidi minorities.


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