BAGHDAD — Soldiers from the 4th Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment’s scout platoon foiled a kidnapping attempt of eight Iraqis in Baghdad’s Kadhimiya district Wednesday.

A Ministry of Oil administrator and a few sheiks were among those rescued. Five kidnappers were taken into custody.

The soldiers were patrolling Wednesday night when platoon leader 1st Lt. Jeff O’Dell decided to set up a traffic checkpoint — called a TCP by the soldiers — off a main road.

The 10th Mountain Division soldiers had searched a handful of cars when a van came around the corner into the checkpoint relatively fast, said platoon member Spc. Joshua Edwards.

“He took the corner doing about 30 — that was odd,” he said. “He came to a dead stop and started to back up at the same speed.”

The soldiers forced the vehicle to stop by aiming their weapons at it, then went up to the vehicle.

Soldiers noticed people bound and blindfolded in the back. The drivers explained by saying they were government security forces and those in back were their prisoners.

When Staff Sgt. Steven Johnson got to the van and started speaking to the driver and passenger, one of the captives spoke up.

“When one of the sheiks heard my voice, he started calling for help,” he said.

The soldiers separated the kidnappers from the others, eventually escorting all of them back to their base camp. A search of the five kidnappers and vehicle uncovered four pistols, an AK-47 assault rifle and a sub-machine gun fitted with a silencer, according to a military press release.

Sgt. Carl McCauley said that the soldiers were surprised at the night’s events. “At first, I was like ‘holy [expletive],’” he said. “I looked around and thought ‘What the hell just happened?’”

“We’ve run hundreds of TCPs,” Edwards said. “We’ve found stuff, but nothing that’s a big deal. We got lucky.”

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