Gunmen abduct UN local staffer in Iraq as police find 8 bodies around the capital, Baghdad

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BAGHDAD — Gunmen abducted a local staffer working for the United Nations in Iraq as police found eight bodies in different parts of the capital, Baghdad, authorities said Tuesday.

Eliana Nabaa, a spokeswoman for the U.N. mission, said the man was kidnapped in the city of Baqouba, the capital of eastern Diyala province.

She added that Sunday's abduction took place near the government headquarters and that the U.N. is working with authorities to recover him.

A local security official said the man was grabbed from his car during the day. The victim's brother said the family has received a $100,000 ransom demand for the U.N. staffer's release.

Kidnapping for ransom and over political issues long has been rife in Iraq.

Meanwhile Tuesday, eight bodies with gunshot wounds to their heads and chests were found in different parts of two Sunni-majority neighborhoods in western Baghdad, police said. Officers said they found no IDs with the bodies discovered in the Jihad and Ghazaliyah neighborhoods.

Dead bodies left in the street were a common occurrence during the widespread sectarian violence that engulfed Iraq several years ago.

All officials and the relative of the kidnapped U.N. staffer spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to speak to journalists or feared reprisal attacks.

Associated Press writer Paul Schemm contributed to this report.

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