The Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abbadi said on Tuesday that Baghdad is holding the ransom paid for the people who kidnapped Qatari hunters, adding that he did not agree on granting the hunters the visas in the first place.
In December 2015, Unknown gunmen driving in a large convoy of trucks kidnapped at least 26 Qatari citizens from their hunting camp in a sprawling desert area near the Saudi borders. However, last month the group was freed and was being handed over to a Qatari delegation in Baghdad.
During a press conference, Abadi said that the ransom paid by the Qatari delegation for the release of the kidnapped hunters did not go to the kidnappers, because giving hundreds of millions of dollars to armed groups is unacceptable.
Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdul Rahman al-Thani, responded to Abadi’s statement saying that he was surprised and that the money got into Iraq publically and the government was informed about the operation. It all happened legally and the Qataris were cooperating with the Iraqi authorities all the way.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdul Rahman al-Thani added that if they do not need the money anymore, let them return the money through official ways. However, he confirmed that the Qatari hunters got into Iraq through visas that were issued by the government in Baghdad.