The Guardian's Iraq correspondent, Rory Carroll, was last night missing after being kidnapped by gunmen in Baghdad. Carroll, 33, an experienced foreign correspondent, had been conducting an interview in the city with a victim of Saddam Hussein's regime. He had been preparing an article for today's paper on the opening of the former dictator's trial yesterday.
Carroll, who was accompanied by two drivers and a translator, was confronted by the gunmen as he left the house where he had been carrying out the interview. He and one of the drivers were bundled into cars. The driver was released about 20 minutes later.
Carroll has been in Iraq since January. He volunteered for the assignment and his coverage has been critical of the US-led coalition. Before Iraq, he had been the paper's correspondent in Africa, based in Johannesburg, since 2002. In the previous three years he had been based in Rome, where he covered the aftermath of the Kosovo war.
He was born in Dublin, attended university there and worked for various Irish papers before moving to London. He has an Irish passport. The Irish government was last night in contact with its embassies throughout the Middle East to try to secure help in finding him.
Alan Rusbridger, the Guardian's editor, said: "We're deeply concerned at Rory's disappearance. He is in Iraq as a professional journalist - and he's a very good, straight journalist whose only concern is to report fairly and truthfully about the country. We urge those holding him to release him swiftly - for the sake of his family and for the sake of anyone who believes the world needs to be kept fully informed about events in Iraq today."
Ewen MacAskill Thursday October 20, 2005 The Guardian
Guardian journalist abducted in Baghdad (full story)
20.10.2005: Fears over Guardian journalist
19.10.2005: Guardian statement on Rory Carroll
Guardian statement on Rory Carroll (in Arabic - pdf)
Hear the Guardian statement on Rory Carroll (in Arabic)