Iraq's government-backed militia 'execute five men'

Iraq's government-backed militia 'execute five men'
An unidentified source said Iraq's government-backed Popular Mobilisation units have shot dead five men after receiving intelligence from local informants.
2 min read
26 October, 2016
The PMU is not taking part in the operation to liberate Mosul from IS [Getty]

Five men from a village south of Iraq’s Mosul were allegedly shot dead by members of the Popular Mobilisation Units after the militia group took control of the surrounding areas, an unnamed source told The New Arab.

The men were among families displaced from Mosul where the Iraqi army is currently participating in an offensive to drive out the Islamic State, an officer in the Nineveh operations command said.

"Elements from the Badr militia group snatched five men from the An’ayniah village near the Qayyarah city, as the federal army and police forces watched,” the unidentified officer said.

“They executed them by firing squad,” he said, adding that the execution caused “verbal altercations” between the tribal forces.

Iraq’s Popular Mobilisation Units, more commonly known by the Arabic name al-Hashd al-Shaabi, is a government-backed paramilitary umbrella group which relies heavily on informants to provide intelligence into residents of areas formerly controlled by the Islamic State group.

Hundreds of suspected IS militants have so far been arrested by security forces as the military, along with the PMU, continued to retrieve IS-held towns and cities.

All men fleeing IS-held areas of fighting age – anywhere between 18 and 65 – were subjected to security screening by Iraqi authorities and the Kurdistan Regional Government to determine if they had links to IS.

Last week, Amnesty International accused the Iraqi government and PMU it backs of war crimes and human rights violations, including the torture and execution of thousands of civilians who escaped areas controlled by the Islamic State group.

Similarly, Human Rights Watch and the UN have previously blamed the pro-government militias for perpetrating atrocities against civilians.

Although the PMU has had a pivotal role in liberating IS-held areas, it is not directly taking part in the large-scale Mosul operation that was launched earlier this month.

The PMU’s mission will be to "cut off and prevent the escape of (IS) towards Syria and fully isolate Mosul from Syria," Jawwad al-Tulaibawi, spokesman for the Asaib Ahl al-Haq militia said told AFP on Tuesday.