Swedish-Iraqi still missing in Iraq

No trace has been found of a Swede of Iraqi origin who went missing more than three months ago when he was on his way from Syria to Iraq, the Swedish foreign ministry said on Thursday.

“We have been in contact with Syrian and Iraqi authorities but have, despite our efforts, not been able to locate him,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Aasa Arvidson told AFP.

“We’re working intensely to try to find out what has happened,” she added.

The man, a 54 year-old Swedish-Iraqi citizen and reportedly a high-ranking member of the Iraqi Communist Party who was working as an economic advisor to the Iraqi government when he went missing, has not been heard from since late March.

He has lived in Sweden for more than 20 years and has in recent years travelled to Baghdad frequently to work for the government, according to Swedish media reports.

He was travelling on an Iraqi diplomatic passport when he missed his flight from Syria to Baghdad and called his family to say he was travelling by car to the Iraqi capital.

According to “well-informed Iraqi-Swedish sources” quoted in Swedish daily Svenska Dagbladet on Thursday, the man may have been held in Syria. The Syrian authorities have meanwhile insisted that he crossed the border to Iraq.

The paper also speculated that the Swede may have been used in “a prisoner exchange between Syria and Iraq”.

Another Swedish-Iraqi politician, Minas Ibrahim al-Yussufi, the secretary general of Iraq’s Christian Democratic Party, was held hostage in Iraq for more than six weeks earlier this year before being released in mid-March.