The Iraqi residents of a number of Sunni-dominated governorates are afraid that the redeployment of Shia factions in their areas as part of the security forces’ campaign to combat Daesh will lead to sectarian unrest.
Following a string of violent attacks by Daesh militants on a number of Iraqi cities and villages in the Sunni-dominated governorates of Diyala, Kirkuk and Mosul, security forces and army, supported by the Shia Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF), launched a security campaign which included conducting raids and search campaigns and establishing random military checkpoints between cities and villages.
Iraqi journalist Walid Al-Karkhi explained that residents are afraid to pass through the checkpoints as the PMF uses them to kidnap Sunnis.
According to Al-Karkhi since 2003 the Shia factions have been operating independently of the official security forces in Diyala governorate.
“When someone is kidnaped while passing through a checkpoint, the relatives often review the official security authorities for information to find out that there is no official record of the arrest,” he said.
Al-Karkhi explained that detainees are either killed and thrown into the Diyala River, or held until his/her family pays a ransom.