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

The Kurdish Globe - - FRONT PAGE - By Salih Wal­ad­bagi

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.

Roopak Omer

The woman, 50, Roopak Omer, was stand­ing near the rally with her hus­band when some­one be­gan fir­ing ran­domly into the crowd.

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