After journalist’s kidnapping, Baghdad’s $15 mn security system under fire

Al-Muthanna Airport street in Baghdad

Baghdad ( Following the kidnapping of an Iraqi journalist from her home in Baghdad late Monday, a $15 million-worth security monitoring system that went into force earlier this year to curb crimes in the capital became under fire.

Saad al-Matlabi, a member of Baghdad Governorate’s security commission, said in press statements on Wednesday that the kidnapping of reporter Afrah Shawqi, by a yet unknown armed group of eight, is evidence of the failure of the so-dubbed “Baghdad Eagle” security system, which was introduced in January with the aim of tightening scrutiny of vehicles moving across the capital and lessen car thefts and other security breaches. Baghdad security authorities had urged car owners to register data of their vehicles at the new system to better track stolen cars and combat security violations.

“The project is a waste of public funds and a sort of covert financial corruption. The cameras had failed to detect the launching point or destination of the armed group,” Matlabi stated. “Those cameras are not connected with the Interior Ministry, but are rather run by monitoring employees at the governorate council, and shut down as soon as the official working shifts end.”

The case of Shawqi’s kidnapping had drawn international attention, with Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi ordering investigation into the incident.

Baghdad governor Ali al-Tamimi is already facing parliament questioning mid January 2017 after the State of the Law parliamentary bloc submitted a motion reporting of several incidents of corruption in the governorate, including the security system.

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