Police chief missing after held at Iraq checkpoint

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BAGHDAD, Oct 27 (Reuters) A senior police chief in an area of Iraq riven by sectarian violence was kidnapped at an army checkpoint along with seven bodyguards and has not been heard from since, police and interior ministry sources said today.

They said Colonel Amer Nussayif Jassim, chief of police in the town of Miqdadiya, northeast of Baghdad, had been stopped at an army checkpoint while driving to work in a two-car convoy, bundled into the trunk of a car by soldiers, and taken away.

Interior ministry sources said they believed Jassim had been targeted for sectarian reasons. They said the kidnapping happened a few days ago. Police had initially said the kidnapping was today.

The interior ministry sources said Jassim managed to radio colleagues as he was being taken away, and police later arrested 13 people at the checkpoint.

But there was no sign of Jassim or his bodyguards. A team had been assembled to investigate the incident, the sources said.

Miqdadiya is in Diyala province, a mixed region of Shi'ites and Sunnis that has seen severe sectarian violence. Iraq's police and army have often been at odds with each other, and kidnappings by groups of men in police or army uniforms are common in Iraq.

REUTERS SG ND1812

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