Tuz Khur­matu in se­cu­rity cri­sis

Pe­sham­rga forces in­sist on re­main­ing in the area to pro­vide bet­ter se­cu­rity

The Kurdish Globe - - NEWS - By Zakaria Mo­hammed

The se­cu­rity con­di­tions in the mul­ti­eth­nic district of Tuz Khur­matu have ex­tremely de­te­ri­o­rated as the area has wit­nessed some of the dead­li­est at­tacks by in­sur­gent groups in the past weeks. Most re­cently some ter­ror­ists at­tacked Su­laiman Bag sub-district on July 24 and killed 14 Truck drivers who were mostly Shias from Bagh­dad and Nasiriya cities. The se­cu­rity forces in the area failed to stop the in­sur­gents, and as a re­sult the area has been sub-district con­trolled by the ter­ror­ists.

The nu­mer­ous bomb­ings in Tuz Khur­matu in­fu­ri­ated peo­ple es­pe­cially af­ter a car bomb, tar­get­ing of­fi­cials of the city’s Turk­men Front in Tuz Khur­matu, killed its deputy chief and sev­eral oth­ers last month. Peo­ple called the gov­ern­ment to find a so­lu­tion for the se­cu­rity is­sues.

Turk­mens in Tuz Khur­matu started demon­strat­ing to protest against the in­ac­tive­ness of se­cu­rity forces in their area. They asked the gov­ern­ment to send ad­di­tional troops from the army and po­lice forces to their area; they also asked for form­ing awak­en­ing forces from the Turk­mens to re­store sta­bil­ity in the district.

But this protest ended with the fall of dozens of peo­ple dead and oth­ers wounded when two sui­cide bombers wear­ing ex­plo­sives belts blew them­selves amid the pro­test­ers.

A few weeks ago a high­level del­e­ga­tion headed by Deputy Prime Min­is­ter for En­ergy Af­fairs, Hus­sain al-Shahris­tani vis­ited Tuz Khur­matu district and held a meet­ing with lo­cal of­fi­cials.

The Turk­mens of the area claimed that they have been par­tic­u­larly tar­geted by ter­ror­ists; they called the gov­ern­ment to pro­vide bet­ter se­cu­rity.

Shahris­tani de­cided to form a force through re­cruit­ing sol­diers from Diyala Prov­ince to pro­tect Turk­men neigh­bor­hoods and form an emer­gency reg­i­ment in which half of its el­e­ments would be Turk­men. How­ever, this de­ci­sion was not wel­comed by the Arabs and the Kurds, as they left the ob­jected it and left the meet­ing

De­spite all at­tempts made by the gov­ern­ment such as im­ple­ment­ing a se­cu­rity op­er­a­tion in Tuz Khur­matu district to search for wanted men and weapons caches, the district re­mained in­sta­ble and the num­ber of bomb­ings did not de­crease.

On July 24 at 12:00 o’clock mid­night, over 150 armed men at­tacked Su­laiman Bag, a sub­dis­trict run under Tuz Khur­matu. Af­ter block­ing Bagh­dad-Kirkuk road, they seized sev­eral big trucks and killed 14 drivers who from the other prov­inces of Iraq. The area was fi­nally con­trolled by the ter­ror­ists.

Tuz Khur­matu district mayor, Sha­lal Ab­dul ac­cused some in­hab­i­tants of Su­laiman Bag for as­sist­ing the ter­ror­ists to con­trol the sub-district.

Ab­dul said the fight­ing and clashes be­tween the in­sur­gents and the Iraqi army forces in Su­laiman Bag sub-district will not af­fect Tuz Khur­matu. He said the in­sur­gents will not be al­lowed to en­ter Tuz Khur­matu due to the ex­is­tence of Pe­sham­rga forces around the district.

Sala­haddin Pro­vin­cial Coun­cil last week held a meet­ing and de­cided to dis­solve Di­jla Op­er­a­tions Com­mand (DOC) due to fail­ing in per­form­ing their du­ties. DOC was formed to pro­tect the district from ter­ror­ist at­tacks but failed.

Although no de­ci­sions made to make Pesh­marga forces leave the district, PUK polit­buro mem­ber, Mah­moud San­gawi, said the Pesh­marga forces will not abide by any de­ci­sions ask­ing them to leave the area.

He said it is un­for­tu­nate to see the ter­ror­ists have tar­geted Tuz Khur­matu. He said Pesh­marga forces are in the district to pro­tect the district’s peo­ple and will re­main there un­til they are needed.

Tuz Khur­matu district af­fil­i­ated to Sala­haddin prov­ince about (125 km north of Bagh­dad) is con­sid­ered of the dis­puted ar­eas, as it was agreed at the end of 2009, that the man­age­ment of these ar­eas would be joint be­tween Erbil and Bagh­dad.

A Tuz-Khur­matu blast.

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