Revealed: The thousands killed and 'disappeared' in central Iraq

Revealed: The thousands killed and 'disappeared' in central Iraq
The New Arab has obtained documents listing the names of thousands of civilians believed to have been killed in sectarian murders by paramilitaries in central Iraq.
2 min read
27 July, 2017
Thousands of people are thought to have been murdered by sectarian paramilitaries [AFP]

The names of 2,000 "disappeared" Iraqis have been leaked to The New Arab by a member of the country's security committee.

The list only covers those killed by armed groups in Babil province, south of Baghdad, with the numbers of those murdered by government-sanctioned militants in the country's northern governorates expected to far exceed the thousands we already know about.

"The inhabitants of Babil have been threatened by armed factions, asking them to leave and threatening to kill them for sectarian reasons," Kamel al-Ghurairi, an Iraqi lawmaker told parliament last week.

The leaked documents show hundreds of Iraqis have been abducted and killed in a drawn-out spate of attacks in Babil governorate in central Iraq over the past two years.

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It reveals the sheer scale of Shia militant abuses, and revealed the identities of hundreds of victims who were either killed or forcibly disappeared.

Ghurairi called for the commander of Iraq's army operations in Babil to be held responsible for the deteriorating security situation because of a "failure to perform his duty" to protect civilians.

Babil province is a relatively small territory, and the scale
of the alleged sectarian killings across the country
is expected to be vast [Click to enlarge]

The vast majority of the names on the list date back to disappearances in 2014, when Iraqi forces, reinforced by the Iran-backed Hashd al-Shaabi [Popular Mobilisation Forces] militia fighters, fought to "liberate" the province from the Islamic State group.

The years that followed have been marred with reports of sectarian violence between the country's Sunni and Shia communities.

The Iran-backed militias, which have been officially incorporated into the Iraqi national military, have been linked to repeated reports of torture, brutality and extortion.

In November, the paramilitaries were banned from entering the town of Tal Afar by Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi, after reports of widespread abuses during the liberation of Fallujah came to light.

"Only uniformed services will be allowed to enter Tal Afar for fear of repeating what happened in previous years," a spokesperson for the Iraqi premier said.

List of disappeared 2
Another page of names, another litany of victims. At least two-thousand people have been "disappeared" in Babil province alone. Shia sectarian militias are being blamed [The New Arab]

This referred to allegations that Shia militias had murdered civilians in territories populated by Sunnis recaptured from IS.

The leaked documents provide further evidence of the continuing sectarian "cleansing" across the country. Sunni Arabs, dissenters and activists have been the target of these abuses.

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