Woman and two men shot dead during election campaigns
Several attacks have occurred so far, killing one woman and two men as well as injuring 17 others, including police
As the parliamentary election campaign intensifies in the Kurdistan Region, where the ruling and opposition parties are competing to gain as many of the 111 seats as they can, at least three people have been killed in both Erbil, the capital of Kurdistan, and Sulaimani, the second biggest province in the Region, and injured 17 others.
A security source says a suspect has been arrested, accused of opening fire on the crowd and killing the woman. However, Kurdistan Democratic Party’s (KDP) official spokesman, Jaafar Iminki, told The Kurdish Globe that several suspects, from the major opposition party, were taken to the district of Khabat, near Erbil, and they killed a man in order to make chaos in the region.
The shooting happened on Tuesday night (on September 8), when a group of supporters of the Gorran [Change] Movement, the largest opposition group and the third party in Kurdistan, staged a rally. The woman, 50, Roopak Omer, was standing near the rally with her husband when someone began firing randomly into the crowd.
“Omer was transferred to Sulaimani’s emergency hospital in a critical condition. She was shot in the head and later died,” a medic said, who wished to remain anonymous.
Sulaimani’s security forces announced that its forces had arrested a suspect, Swara Abdullah, who is accusing of killing Omer. He later confessed to the crime.
Sarkawt Mohammed, the spokesman for the Sulaimani police force, said that several people were arrested after the incident on the basis of Articles 4 and 5 of Iraq’s penal law. The case file is now at the Azmar Police station in Sulaimani.
Akram Sabir, the victim’s husband, said that: “Me and my wife went to the bazaar to realx almost every night. Our house is pretty close to the location where the incident happened.”
Omer was the mother of six children and worked as an employee in Sulaimani City Hall. She was the sister of three wellknown singers.
“We are not supporting any political parties in the upcoming parliamentary election. We decided to remain independent… all a sudden an unknown man targeting the crowd and my wife was shot in the head,” Akram told Kurdish news agencies.
He called on the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to either halt the election campaigns or to keep the peace in the run-up to the elections.
One of Omer’s sisters was due to marry on the day after the incident, Wednesday.
Hundreds of supporters of both the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, the ruling party, and Gorran, the Opposition, gather every night in Tooy Malik Street, where the incident took place, to support their favorite parties.
The attack came after a similar incident on September 5, during a Gorran rally in the same location, when a young man was wounded by a gunman.
To date, no political party has claimed responsibility for the incident.
In addition to the incident of September 5, five people were wounded-two supporters, two policemen and a journalist-when a group of people targeted a Goran gathering earlier this month with sticks and water bottles, according to officials.
Gorran-backed media outlets blame PUK-affiliated security staff and its supporters for the incident. The PUK denies all involvement.
Azad Jundiayani, the official PUK spokesman, issued a statement condemning the incidents and those who support such actions. He asked the relevant parties to launch an investigation to look into the details of the incident.
The woman, 50, Roopak Omer, was standing near the rally with her husband when someone began firing randomly into the crowd.