4 aid workers for French Christian charity disappear in Baghdad

4 aid workers for French Christian charity disappear in Baghdad
A French Christian charity has said that four of its workers went missing in Iraq's capital while travelling to a meeting.
2 min read
25 January, 2020
SOS Chrétiens d'Orient director general Benjamin Blanchard spoke to reporters on Friday [Getty]

Four aid workers for a French Christian charity disappeared this week in Baghdad at at time of heightened tension in Iraq, the organisation said on Friday.

The charity, SOS Chrétiens d'Orient, said the four — three French citizens and an Iraqi — failed to show up for a scheduled meeting Tuesday afternoon and have not been heard from since. All four had prior experience in crisis zones and were staying at a hotel that regularly hosts international guests. They were in Baghdad primarily for administrative reasons, to renew visas and register the charity with the Iraqi government.

"Last Monday afternoon in Baghdad, four of our collaborators went missing. They were supposed to go to a meeting that did not present any kind of problem," Benjamin Blanchard, SOS Chretiens D'orient director general, told reporters on Friday.

"They left their hotel in a car. This hotel is among those which hosts international guests. After several failed attempts to reach them throughout Tuesday, we took the matter to the French authorities on Wednesday morning."

SOS Chretiens D'orient have said there have been no ransom demands. French and Iraqi authorities are cooperating in the investigation.

The four went missing during a time of heightened tensions in Iraq after a US drone strike on Baghdad airport that killed Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani and a senior Iraqi militia commander, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis. The attack has drawn anger from Iraqi officials from across the political divide and lead to a Jan. 5 non-binding parliamentary resolution to oust US troops from the country.

Iran-backed militia groups have also sworn to avenge the killings.

Agencies contibuted to this report.

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