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Kirkuk, February 2018, the deployment of Iraqi forces in the south and east of Kirkuk. Photo: Federal Police from Kirkuk Now site

Kirkuk Now: Forces deployed south of Kirkuk to protect minorities

Kirkuk – KirkukNow

After a number of armed attacks and abductions last week, two forces from the federal police and Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF) were deployed in the Kakaiyi-resident villages of Daquq. Residents say the move may well decrease their fears and worries.

Kakaiyi is a distinct sect, of which their people mostly populate the villages of Daquq, 44 km south of Kirkuk city. Recently their villages witnessed a number of armed attacks, assassinations, and abductions, for which they had called for urgent assistance more than once.

The commander of Kakaiyi Mobilisation regiment at Brigade 50 of Babylon Omed Hasan told KirkukNow, “After we withdrew from most of our deployment sites recently, the commander of Brigade 19 of Federal Police called us to return and protect the area with their cooperation.”

The force withdrew on 17 June due to being unpaid and mostly consisted of volunteer village residents who took up arms to protect the villages. More recently, the force, along with the federal police, returned up to the Zanqar castle and the school of Ali Saray village.

Hasan has been promised to be helped with weapons, ammunition and military vehicles.

Some developments exacerbated the villagers, the most recent of which was on 25 June at 11, when some suspected ISIS armed men entered the Ali Saray in Haftaghar area of Daquq district, killing one and wounding two due to armed confrontation.

The head of the Zanqar Village Council Azad Rashid told KirkukNow, “Federal Police have been deployed in several sites around the village, which made us happy as most of our people fled after the recent development.”

The force, Rashid said, has promised the residents that their stay won’t be short, which helps their home return.

Around 20 armed men raided Zanqara on 11 June, abducted the chieftain of Kakaiyis and five civilians. Although the civilians were freed later, the cheiftain’s fate is yet to be known.

More forces are expected to be deployed from the federal police to Kakaiyi Mobilization Forces in the Kakaiyi resident villages.

KirkukNow noted the movement of ISIS militants around such villages in a report on 5 June, after following several incidents in three villages with 15,000 population.

Iraqi officials cited the complex territory of such areas when they described the hardship of deployment.

Once a ruling party in these areas, the Kurdish Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) has been asking all relevant institutions to send forces to these areas.

Meanwhile, a UN delegation visited the area on 27 June, promising to pressure the Iraqi government to retrieve stability.

The chieftain of all Kakaiyis in Iraq, Sardar Arjman Agha, who was the UN delegation, told KirkukNow, “After ISIS attacks on the Kakaiyi-resident villages in Daquq and their attacks, people fled our villages. Thus we mounted pressure on Baghdad to resolve the problem.”

Daquq used to be at the forefront of the ISIS battle until it was recaptured by peshmerga. However, the federal forces entered the town on 16 October 2017 when peshmerga withdrew.

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