On Thursday, March 26, French authorities announced the release of the four charity workers from the SOS Chrétien d'Orient (Christians of the Middle East) group that had been abducted near the French Embassy in Bagdad on Monday, January 20.
The workers, three French nationals and one Iraqi national were released a day after French authorities announced the withdrawal of its military troops from Iraq due to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in the country.
Individuals in Iraq are advised to remain vigilant and refrain from sharing personal information with unknown persons to limit the risk of being targeted by potential kidnappers. If attacked, remain calm, do not offer any resistance, and obey all demands issued by your assailant(s). Do everything in your power to keep the situation as calm as possible (accept offered food, engage in conversation initiated by your captors, avoid all political or potentially inflammatory topics, do not do anything that would spook your captors, etc.).
The security environment in Iraq remains complex. Although travel is possible in some areas with proper security protocols in place, other areas should be considered strictly off-limits. Professional security advice and support should be sought prior to all travel.