Iraq Swede vows to catch kidnappers

A Swede held hostage in Iraq for 67 days and released a month ago has vowed to take revenge on his captors and has hired bounty hunters to capture them, Swedish media reported on Wednesday.

“I want to take them out of the game,” Ulf Hjertström, a 63-year-old oil broker who has lived in Baghdad for 14 years, told daily Expressen.

Hjertström, who shared a cell with another recently released hostage, Australian Douglas Wood, was even more categorical in comments made to the Australian media.

“I have now put some people to work to find these bastards … I invested about 50,000 dollars so far and we will get them one by one,” he told financial television channel Ten Network.

Hjertström declined to say what fate awaited his kidnappers, but told Expressen that two of them had already been captured.

“Vengeance is always important, but that is not my main motive. I want people in Baghdad to be able to walk in the streets again,” he said.

The Swede’s release was recently announced in Sweden but his kidnapping was never made public, in contrast to a long line of other high-profile hostage cases in Iraq.

The foreign ministry in Stockholm confirmed that a Swede had been kidnapped and released in the war-ravaged country, but refused to provide any further details.

Hjertström spoke out in the Swedish media however about his ordeal, describing how his captors had killed a number of other prisoners before his eyes and how they on several occasions subjected him to mock executions.

According to him, the motive for his kidnapping was money.

It is not known if a ransom was paid for his release, but Hjertström said he believed it had been.