Though horrendously frightening.
One story doing the rounds in my neighborhood was of a small girl who was abducted on the way back from school. A telephone call was made to her parents informing them that they had 10 days to gather the $10,000 ransom or they would never see her again. The mother fell into hysteria as their financial situation was so bad they had no hope of ever gathering such an amount. The poor father went round to his relatives and friends and managed to raise about $4000. On the 10th day, the kidnappers called and were told that this is all the family could raise. They slammed the phone down and the family were left fearing the worst. A few days later, one of the gang of kidnappers called the girl’s home late in the night and told them where they could find their daughter. He gave an address of a house in an industrial area of Baghdad which is particularly dangerous to walk through at nights. Apparently an argument had broken out between the gang and this man had enough of a conscience to call the family. The father went straight to the police, but they told him they would not come out with him at this late hour (it was about 2am) because they were too scared. The father resorted to calling a few friends and relatives who armed themselves and went to the address given. Upon entering, he found dozens of small children and young women in a large, dark room. He started calling out his daughter’s name and he heard her reply but as if being dragged away. He realised there was a staircase next to the room at the top of which some woman was trying to push his daughter. He got hold of his daughter and left the building, giving the police the entire details. Apparently some 20 families received their loved ones back when the police raided the building the next day. These stories are rife on the streets and provoke much fear, among the rich and poor equally.