Iraq sacks Mosul governor over deadly ferry disaster

Iraq sacks Mosul governor over deadly ferry disaster
The governor of a northern province in Iraq where 100 people died in a ferry disaster has been sacked, authorities confirmed on Sunday.
2 min read
24 March, 2019
At least 100 people died in the accident [Getty]
Iraq's parliament on Sunday sacked the governor of a northern province where 100 people died in a ferry disaster that sparked a wave of grief and anger.

Most of those killed when the boat sank on Thursday in the Tigris River in Mosul were women and children headed for a Mother's Day picnic on the Kurds' Nowruz New Year holiday.

Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mehdi wrote to parliament on Saturday calling on legislators to fire Nineveh provincial governor Nawfel Akoub, citing "negligence and concrete failings" meriting his dismissal.

His two deputies were also fired during a vote in the national assembly.

Parliament declared those killed in the tragedy "martyrs", allowing their families to receive financial compensation and paving the way for court proceedings.

Sixteen people have been arrested as part of an investigation into the ferry capsize, a security official said.

Authorities say 63 people are still listed as missing.

Dozens of students held a silent protest on the campus of the university of Mosul, dressed in black to mourn the victims.

One of them, Abdullah al-Jubburi, told AFP they were demonstrating to demand that "corrupt" politicians and civil servants be replaced.

"The governor and all corrupt officials must be put on trial... We are fed up of being mistreated and marginalised," said fellow protester Isra Mohammed. 

Akoub has already been subjected to the anger of victims' relatives and their supporters over alleged corruption and cronyism.

When he visited the scene of the tragedy on Friday stones were thrown at his convoy by protesters demonstrating against perceived corruption and neglect.

Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi ordered an investigation and briefly visited Mosul, where he declared three days of national mourning.

Mosul's Civil Defence Authority Husam Khalil said that the boat was over capacity when it capsized - carrying 250 people when it should have normally been carrying only 50.

The sinking of the ferry was a tragic blow to Mosul, Iraq's second-largest city that is still struggling to overcome the devastation wreaked by the Islamic State group.

The ferry disaster took place in the first Nowruz celebrations allowed in the area for years, since the defeat of IS.

IS had captured Mosul it in the summer of 2014, making the city its main stronghold in Iraq. After US-backed Iraqi forces retook Mosul three years later, in July 2017, much of the city was left in ruins.

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