Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Canadian Connection in Today's Baghdad Kidnappings

Via the Globe & Mail:

Five Britons were kidnapped Tuesday from an Iraqi government office in Baghdad, swooped away in a convoy filled with men in police uniforms who headed toward a Shia stronghold in the capital, the British government and an Iraqi official said.

Four are employees of the Montreal-based security firm, GardaWorld, the company confirmed.

"A client and four of its security professionals working in Baghdad were forcibly taken from a work site this morning," said Joe Gavaghan, speaking on behalf of GardaWorld Securities Corp.

"We cannot disclose anything about the client," he said.

Garda is also withholding the names of the employees and Mr. Gavaghan said only that they were providing "protective services".
Mr. Gavaghan could not say how many GardaWorld employees are currently in Iraq but said Garda has approximately 5,000 employees working in the Middle East.

Earlier this month, Gardaworld was awarded a "peace prize from the Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East [FRRME] for its Work in Iraq" for protecting Anglican church Canon Andrew White (PBS interview).

Christianity Today has more:

At least four British men abducted today in Baghdad were linked to the vicar of St George’s Church, Canon Andrew White.
In an e-mail entitled “urgent prayer request” to Times Online today, Canon White wrote: “Four of our security guards have been kidnapped along with one other British client. They were taken from the Ministry of Finance, which is Shia controlled.”

The BBC reports that Gardaworld's staff in Iraq is "largely staffed by British former service personnel". Makes you wonder how many Canadians are over in Iraq as well.

GardaWorld is one of the biggest suppliers of private security in Iraq, and is thought to have hundreds of staff in the country.

Canada's Blackwater?

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