The security forces in Iraq are reported to have been preventing citizens who live in Mosul from entering the capital, Baghdad, and subjecting them to ill-treatment as they try to pass through checkpoints, Al-Quds Al-Arabi news website has reported.
According to one resident from Mosul, Umm Rasha, security officers at one checkpoint stopped her from going into Baghdad for medical treatment on the pretext that she did not have a medical report with her. She was forced to spend the night in the open and return to Mosul the following day. The required medical facilities are not available in her home city.
Another Mosul resident, Haj Abu Yasir, said that he and his fellow citizens feel as if they live in a large prison or under house arrest because of the restrictions imposed on them and the difficulties they have when travelling. He said that although the federal government restored control over Mosul six months ago, security measures imposed on the population make them feel like “second class citizens” amid accusations that they are harbouring terrorists. Abu Yasir called on the city’s deputies to put immediate pressure on the Iraqi government to end their suffering and lift the ban imposed on them.
One security guard was quite open about the reason for stopping people going into Baghdad. “He told me that it is because I am from Mosul,” explained Abdul Hakim, who was stopped when he tried to go to the capital to fill out some pension documents. “When I arrived at one checkpoint I was informed that I cannot enter because I am from Mosul and ‘You are terrorists’.”
Interior Ministry official Alaa Mohammed confirmed that citizens from Mosul are denied entry into Baghdad for “security” reasons. “Many terrorists have forged fake IDs to hide their true identities after the Iraqi forces liberated Mosul from Daesh,” he pointed out. However, he insisted that patients with medical reports and older people needing to complete pension documents are allowed to pass through the checkpoints.
In a clear illustration of the security anarchy affecting Iraqis these days, Mohammed added that the checkpoints are controlled by forces from the interior, defence and national security agencies, as well as the popular mobilisation forces. “Entering the capital requires the consent of all these parties,” he noted. “If any of them refuse, the citizen cannot enter.”