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Iraq: Sunni coalition says militia-backed security forces kidnapped 50 people

Iraq’s Uniters for Reform coalition, or Muttahidoon, a Sunni coalition led by Usama Al-Nujayfi, said on Monday that armed militias backed by security forces are active in the “Baghdad belt” where they have kidnapped 50 people in the Shakriya area near Yusufiya.

Member of Parliament Ahmed Al-Massari said, during a press conference at parliament along with a number of MPs, that the kidnapped belong to the Kartan and Al-Ezza tribes.

He revealed that they were kidnapped at a security checkpoint under the responsibility of Division 17, in cooperation with armed militias that he did not name.

The Iraqi MP pointed out that, as of yet, he does not know the fate of those kidnapped.

Al-Massari called on the general commander of the Iraqi armed forces to conduct an immediate investigation to find out the whereabouts of those kidnapped and to get to the bottom of this incident. He added that he is holding the security forces’ leaders in the area responsible for protecting the lives of those kidnapped.

Anadolu news agency could not obtain an immediate statement from Iraqi security forces regarding the accusations made by MP Al-Massari.

The security belt surrounding Baghdad comprises three major areas that include a number of Sunni neighbourhoods and towns: Yusufiyah, Radwaniyah and Lutaifiya in the south; Abu Ghraib in the west; and Al-Taji in the north.

Tensions have swept across the northwest of Iraq since the Islamic State group (commonly known as ISIL or ISIS) and Sunni militants allied to it seized control of the northern governorate of Nineveh on 10 June after the Iraqi army’s forces pulled out without any resistance, leaving behind large quantities of weapons and equipment.

The same scenario was repeated in cities in the governorate of Salah Al-Din and in Kirkuk and Diyala—in addition to Anbar’s cities, which had fallen months earlier.

However, in the past few weeks, Iraqi forces, backed by militias allied to it as well as the Kurdish Peshmerga forces, have succeeded in expelling the Islamic State militants and regaining control of a number of cities and towns following violent battles.

By Moayed Tarfi, Anadolu news agency


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