Thursday, November 10, 2016

Civilian Deaths: IRAQI POLICE Abuse or Under Cover ISIS?

It’s already ticking up to a whole month ever since the major military offensive to dislodge the presence of the terror group ISIS from Iraq’s second largest city of Mosul began last October, and even the most positive analysts will concede that nothing significant may take place in the combat situation for at least another whole month or more.

Until then, any Mosul residents who are both brave and lucky enough to slip through the ISIS perimeter are joining the exodus of other people from neighboring towns and villages to undergo the risky trek to areas and settlements that are now under the control and protection of the Iraqi Defense Forces, Iraqi Federal Police and Kurdish Peshmerga. Their best hope is that now they won’t have to suffer any further indignation other than lack of food and other supplies. But the nightmare it seems has yet to end for them.

As BBC tells it, representatives of Amnesty International on the scene of the Mosul campaign are reporting a rash of incidents within the government-controlled safe zones, resulting in the torture and death of several villagers living just due south of Mosul. The perpetrators were reported to be dressed and armed in the fashion of Iraqi Police, who have largely been trying to restore some semblance of law and order in areas that have been liberated from ISIS garrisons. According to their investigation, a total of six people from the southern sub-districts of Shura and Qayyarah have been rounded up under suspicion that they were ISIS plants in liberated territories, and were later beaten and killed while under custody.

Further eyewitness accounts gleaned by Amnesty International would have it that the victims were part of a larger group of arrestees comprised of 10 adult men and a 16-year old boy who managed to escape when retreating ISIS fighters seized large portions of the settlements’ populations for use as human shields against pursuing government forces. They were turned in by a unit of men dressed in police uniforms and later taken to a holding area between Qayyarah and Shura. Here they were subjected to extreme torture and close-range gunfire intimidation, before they were taken away from the camp and beaten and shot to death in a staggered pattern over a number of days.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi had announced shortly before the kickoff of the Mosul offensive that any human rights violations perpetrated by the military and police during the course of the drawn-out battle will be prosecuted to the full extent of national laws. Amnesty International Beirut office vice-chief Lynn Maalouf is now calling on al-Abadi to hold true to his earlier promise.

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