Rights group: State-backed Iraqi mili­tia killed IS cap­tives

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

IRBIL, Iraq: A mili­tia backed by the Iraqi gov­ern­ment killed sus­pected Is­lamic State fight­ers cap­tured dur­ing the op­er­a­tion to re­take Mo­sul, Hu­man Rights Watch said yes­ter­day.

The Hashed al-Jabour mili­tia, made up of Sunni tribal fight­ers, killed four men it had cap­tured in a vil­lage north of Mo­sul in Novem­ber, ac­cord­ing to a re­port pub­lished by the New York-based group. The re­port cited wit­nesses who said the men were shot in the pres­ence of Iraqi se­cu­rity forces with­out any ju­di­cial pro­ceed­ings.

The mili­tia is part of the Pop­u­lar Mo­bi­liza­tion Forces, a group of mainly Shi­ite mili­tias sanc­tioned by the gov­ern­ment which have been ac­cused of abuses dur­ing past cam­paigns against IS, a Sunni ex­trem­ist group.

Iraqi gov­ern­ment spokesman Saad al-Ha­dithi said au­thor­i­ties were un­aware of the in­ci­dent, but were com­mit­ted to ar­rest­ing and try­ing any­one sus­pected of hu­man rights vi­o­la­tions. “Gen­er­ally speak­ing, re­tal­i­a­tions could hap­pen in some ar­eas by the lo­cals (in the PMF) who had fam­ily mem­bers and rel­a­tives killed by Daesh be­fore the en­ter­ing of gov­ern­ment se­cu­rity forces,” al-Ha­dithi said, us­ing the Ara­bic acro­nym of IS. “Such acts are to­tally re­jected by the Iraqi gov­ern­ment and are fully in­ves­ti­gated, and those be­hind it face tri­als.”

In com­ments broad­cast on state tele­vi­sion Satur­day, Iraq’s Prime Min­is­ter Haider al-Abadi said he had not re­ceived any “com­plaints” about the Pop­u­lar Mo­bi­liza­tion Forces. He said the Mo­sul fight was “clean,” and mov­ing for­ward at a “good pace.” The Mo­sul of­fen­sive in­volves tens of thou­sands of Iraqi sol­diers and po­lice, as well as Kur­dish fight­ers, Shi­ite mili­tias and Sunni tribes­men. Iraqi forces have seized around a quar­ter of the city - the coun­try’s sec­ond largest - since the op­er­a­tion be­gan Oct. 17.

The In­ter­na­tional Or­ga­ni­za­tion for Mi­gra­tion said Sun­day that at least 103,872 peo­ple have fled their homes since the op­er­a­tion be­gan. The city was still home to more than a mil­lion peo­ple when the of­fen­sive be­gan two months ago.

Hu­man Rights Watch has pre­vi­ous ac­cused Sunni mili­tias par­tic­i­pat­ing in the Mo­sul op­er­a­tion of re­cruit­ing boys younger than 18 for the fight. The group has also ac­cused the Shi­ite mili­tias op­er­at­ing un­der the PMF of abuses against civil­ians in ma­jor­ity Sunni towns and cities. The prime min­is­ter’s of­fice has in­ves­ti­gated in­di­vid­ual mili­ti­a­men af­ter past al­le­ga­tions.

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