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Swedish businessman abducted in Morocco

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10:20 CET+01:00
A Swedish businessman has disappeared in Morocco after men purporting to be police apprehended him in the coastal town of Tetouan.

The man's family and Swedish diplomats in the North African country say they do not know why he was taken or where. It is also at this stage unclear whether the men who took him away on Christmas Day night were genuine police officers.

"All we know at present is that a 54-year-old Swedish citizen was taken on the night of 25th December. Last time I spoke to the Swedish Embassy in Morocco we had no further information," said Sofia Karlberg at the Foreign Ministry in Stockholm to The Local.

TV4 reports that the man was taken from his home in Tetouan by men in civilian clothes. A female member of the family had answered the door to the men, who said they were looking for her brother-in-law.

The men initially said they had a present for the man, to which the woman replied that he was not there. When she then tried to prevent them from entering they presented themselves as police. She says that they claimed the United States lay behind the action. They then, according to the woman, went to wake her father.

"My father followed them voluntarily and answered questions," she said. At 5am on 26th December the father disappeared with the men. One of the men returned the next day to promise that the father would soon be home if they were "reasonable", the daughter said. The men also left a phone number, which according to the family did not work.

The family has contacted Moroccan police and prosecutors to search for the man, but so far with out success. They have also asked lawyers and the Swedish embassy in Rabat for help. According to a human rights organization quoted by TT, 40 people were rounded up by unknown men and taken to Rabat on the same night.

The small Swedish mission in Morocco has asked for help from the French Embassy in the country.

The Swedish Foreign Ministry could on Friday morning not confirm whether the man was a permanent resident in Morocco. According to news reports he is Swedish and has lived in Sweden for over 30 years. His wife and six children, the youngest of whom is 6, remain in their home in Tetouan.

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