Jailed Iraqi children freed

  1. Jailed Iraqi children run free as marines roll into Baghdad suburbs
    Tue Apr 8,12:30 PM ET


    BAGHDAD (AFP) - More than 100 children held in a prison celebrated their freedom as US marines rolled into northeast Baghdad amid chaotic scenes which saw civilians loot weapons from an army compound, a US officer said.




    Around 150 children spilled out of the jail after the gates were opened as a US military Humvee vehicle approached, Lieutenant Colonel Fred Padilla told an AFP correspondent travelling with the Marines 5th Regiment.


    "Hundreds of kids were swarming us and kissing us," Padilla said.


    "There were parents running up, so happy to have their kids back."


    "The children had been imprisoned because they had not joined the youth branch of the Baath party," he alleged. "Some of these kids had been in there for five years."


    The children, who were wearing threadbare clothes and looked under-nourished, walked on the streets crossing their hands as if to mimic handcuffs, before giving the thumbs up sign and shouting their thanks.


    It was not clear who had opened the doors of the prison.


    Civilians also took advantage of the collapse of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein (news - web sites)'s authority to grab weapons from an army base, said Group Sergeant Jeff Treiber.


    As marines were alerted by radio that civilians had seized weapons, Treiber warned that anyone seen to be armed could be a target of US-British coalition forces.


    "With the weapons they are becoming combatants," said Treiber. "If they don't take the weapons they will be fine."


    Other residents stole air conditioning units, television sets and furniture from government buildings in an echo of the looting that was seen in the southern city of Basra.


    A 19-year-old called Haider said people had been ransacking government compounds since the morning to steal weapons and furniture.


    "Since the morning, nine o'clock, they have been looting. They are stealing weapons and I took three doors," he said.


    At one stage the marines opened fire after coming under attack from snipers, leaving at least two civilians wounded.


    One man needed treatment for gunshot wounds to his stomach and left arm.


    But his friend, Abdul Amir Jaffa, said he did not resent the Americans despite the shooting.


    "Americans are coming to free us," he told AFP.





    The marines became increasingly edgy as crowds of people took to the streets to observe their progress.

    "It's a problem with so many people in the area. Its hard to tell if there are enemy forces among them. You have to be careful returning fire with civilians all over the place," Lieutenant Anthony Sousa said.

    Troops from the Marines' 1st Expeditionary Force also entered Baghdad on the east of the city Tuesday as thousands of armoured vehicles and Humvees poured into the capital for a showdown with Saddam Hussein's troops.
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  2. 15 Comments

  3. by   Furball
    They have such an incredibly difficult job...I can't even imagine.

    Those poor kids. I feel badly that we came in "late"....I'm glad we didn't wait for the UN.

    I also saw Iraqi brothers describing how they were tortured and how their family members were executed....made me sick.
  4. by   Mkue
    I'm speechless

    Thanks for posting this Helen, I'm thankful those children are free.

    I believe the Marines do have a difficult job there not knowing when to return fire.
  5. by   Mimi Wheeze
    I cannot tell you how much I admire our troops.

    Can you imagine walking admist people who may have a gun concealed and could shoot you at any time? I truly believe the Iraqi people are thrilled to be free, but you just never know. How can you tell a SH fanatic from an ordinary innocent citizen?
  6. by   renerian
    Horrible. Every day we here about more horrible treatment the people had to endure.

    renerian
  7. by   jnette
    Poor lil guys...what a sukky life those folks have had.

    Sad thing is... how many OTHER countries are suffering the same?
    That's a scary thought.
  8. by   wv_nurse 2003
    Originally posted by jnette
    Sad thing is... how many OTHER countries are suffering the same?
    That's a scary thought.
    extremely scary--I thank God everyday I live where I live...
  9. by   angelbear
    I think that is alot of the problem for the Iraqi's. They dont know who among them maybe a SH fanatic. Such a sad way to live. They and our troops fighting to free them are in my prayers.
  10. by   tiger
    i'm so glad the u.s.a. could help them. how sad.
  11. by   Chiaramonte
    I can't even imagine if my child was imprisoned for such a thing.

    Such suffering we are uncovering...

    Must be such a roller coaster of emotions for the military.
    Last edit by Chiaramonte on Apr 9, '03
  12. by   Furball
    The US, and the world for that matter, was put in a horrible position by that bastard.....avoid war, hope for the best at the cost of human beings being slaughtered without opposition...or wage war, where innocents are always hurt, but at least try to stop the insanity for future Iraqis.....so damn, freaking infuriating that so many had to suffer.
  13. by   Tilleycs
    More than 100 children held in a prison celebrated their freedom as US marines rolled in...

    Around 150 children spilled out of the jail after the gates were opened...

    "Hundreds of kids were swarming us and kissing us," Padilla said.

    "There were parents running up, so happy to have their kids back."

    The children, who were wearing threadbare clothes and looked under-nourished, walked on the streets crossing their hands as if to mimic handcuffs, before giving the thumbs up sign and shouting their thanks.

    "Americans are coming to free us," he told AFP.
    Hmmm...and we (the Americans - both the soldiers and the ones who have supported the war) were supposed to be the bad guys in this whole situation according to HOW many countries and people were against us going into Iraq?
  14. by   LoisJean
    This is where our troops shine! There is no doubt about their bravery under fire and no doubt that combined with Britian's forces, we are the most powerful military force in the world....but,

    it's in the liberating of a people that our troops shine. This is what they love to see and participate in. This is their mission and to fulfill it makes them so very glad! This is how we will be remembered in that country by all of those who suffered such horrors under that un-redeemable regime.

    May all of us who love Freedom pray that Grace leads the Iraqi people foreward to create their own free destiny--and may we strive to support the ideal of Freedom for all who remain oppressed by cruel and insane forces. May we sincerely want for them the best of what we already have and often take so lightly.

    Peace,
    Lois Jean

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