AD DIWANIYAH, Iraq -- The highest ranking Ba'ath Party member in Ad Diwaniyah, Iraq surrendered to the Marines of 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment Aug. 1, following recent raids by the Marines on suspected hideouts.
Adnan Nassin Alwan, known by his followers as Said Abu Dikhim, presented himself to Marine Lt. Col. Patrick Malay and was taken into custody. Malay is the local military governor of the Al Qadisiyah province and Buffalo, N.Y. native.
The people of Ad Diwaniyah have accused Dikhim of several crimes including beatings, tortures, and involvement in murders.
A second Ba'ath Party member, Rathy Waylid Mohammed, turned himself into military authorities at the same time. Both Mohammed and Dikhim are members of the Farah level in the Ba'ath Party, although Dikhim is a more prestigious catch because he was the figurehead for the city.
"Today is Friday, your holy day, and it is fitting you use today to do the right thing," Malay said as Dikhim turned himself over. "The blood of many Iraqis is all over your hands... It was just a matter of time before we caught you."
A recent raid in the Qadisiyah province by Marines of 3rd Battalion turned up no wanted Ba'ath party members, but the show of force sent a clear message that the coalition forces are still on the hunt.
Malay told Dikhim that he would be held accountable for alleged actions while being treated with fairness, firmness and dignity.
"The Coalition Forces came here to pull you out of the community," he said. "Iraq is striving for democracy."
A local tribal sheik and Grandfather of the Ba'ath Party Madhi Saghbah handled the surrender of the high-ranking Ba'ath members. Ad Diwaniyah's Governor Hasem Al-Sha'alan and chief of police, General Fuad Hani Faris ensured that the handover of the wanted men were conducted smoothly.
"This is for us, the people and the government," said Saghbah when Malay thanked him for his participation in the surrender.
Local Iraqi police had been looking for Dikhim and other local party members, as well as members from other cities who may be hiding out in Diwaniyah.
"We achieved a great step here," said General Faris. "They should have come earlier and not waited. By running and hiding they exposed themselves and family to great dangers."