Iraqi security sources have said that the Shia militias in Tikrit have refused to stop mass looting and killings in the city recaptured from ISIS a couple of days ago, Jordan’s Al-Sabeel newspaper reported on Sunday. It was said earlier that Prime Minister Haidar Al-Abadi had sent his forces to the city to end the looting, killing and destruction of houses and shops.
However, claim the sources, these particular militias refused to leave the city along with the “Popular Crowd” militia, which withdrew from the city on Saturday and handed over responsibility for security to the federal police.
Several international media reports allege that the Shia militias have carried out mass executions and widespread looting and destruction of property in Tikrit since it was recaptured last week. As many as 76 people were summarily executed by the militias, it is claimed; their bodies were dragged through the streets.
According to the Wall Street Journal, one Tikrit resident, Waleed Omar, fled the city during the fighting earlier this month. “This looting issue is 100 per cent true,” he said, “and it means new suffering for the people of Tikrit.” ISIS displaced people in Tikrit after committing horrible crimes against them, he added, and now the militias are looting and burning their homes.
The head of the provincial council of Salahuddin province, Ahmed Al-Kareem, told reporters, “Tikrit is chaotic and things are out of control. The police forces and officials there are helpless to stop the militias.”
Both Al-Kareem and the governor of Salahuddin left Tikrit, the provincial capital, on Friday night, in protest at the failure of the Iraqi government to curb looting and murder. “Houses and shops were burnt after they stole everything,” Al-Kareem told Reuters. Pointing out that hundreds of buildings have been set on fire, he said: “Our city was burnt down in front of our eyes. We cannot control what is going on.”
Meanwhile, Deputy Iraqi Prime Minister Salim Al-Jabbour said that the deterioration of the situation in Diyala province, north-east of Baghdad, ended after an agreement with the head of Al-Sadri militias, in addition to other parties to the political process. Before this agreement, Shia militias were also engaged there in mass looting, property destruction and killing after recapturing the area from ISIS.