ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Erbil Security Forces (Asayish) on Sunday published the confessions of three suspects involved in the kidnapping and extortion of an Indian national last month in the Kurdistan Region capital.
The three suspects were arrested over the weekend for the kidnapping of Nasir Ahmed Ghafor, an Indian restaurant owner in Erbil’s Ankawa district.
The incident took place on the night of May 28 between 6:45 to 11:50 p.m. local time, CCTV footage uncovered.
In a published confession, lead suspect Rebaz Qadir Salih, 31, said the two others involved in the kidnapping were his brother Abdul, 39, and brother-in-law Ajeen Mustafa, whose age was undisclosed. A fourth suspect, another Salih brother, Nabaz, 34, was charged for accessory for his indirect role in the crime.
In the video the Erbil security released, a confident Rebaz is heard on an Asayish recording boasting that security forces would never uncover his location or the whereabouts of the kidnapped Indian national, threatening to kill the man if the ransom is not paid.
“I will not calm down!” the 31-year-old is heard telling the kidnapped man’s brother on the other line. “You have until 2:30 p.m. to bring me the money or I will kill him!”
“You better not tell anybody either, because if one single person finds out, then I will kill him! Do you understand?!”
Rebaz later released a video which shows him pointing a gun to Ghafor’s head while he continues to threaten that he will kill him if the ransom is not paid.
The Indian national was held captive for three days where he was tortured, undressed, kept in a dark room, and starved, Ghafor later told the security forces upon his rescue.
“I called my brother telling him to arrange money,” he said in the Asayish video. “He approached the Asayish in Erbil for my rescue.”
According to the Salih brothers’ accounts, they had requested Ghafor’s brother to pay them USD 100,000 which was later negotiated to USD 50,000. However, the security forces uncovered their location and rescued the Indian before any money was transferred.
“We settled for $50,000, but before any money was paid the Asayish were at the door,” Rebaz said in his confession.
Ghafor, whose restaurant has been open in the Kurdistan Region capital for 10 years, said the spot has “a good reputation” among locals.
The Indian national also expressed his gratitude to the security forces, adding he feels safe in Kurdistan despite the incident and looks forward to continuing his business for many years.
During the operation, the Asayish confiscated several weapons, including a Kalashnikov rifle, three pistols, two knives, four banana-clip magazines, and several cell phones. They also impounded the vehicle used in the kidnapping, a 1980s model Mazda Capella.