Exclusive: Iraqi irregular forces kidnapping Kurds in Kirkuk

(TFC) – Less than an hour ago, we received a series of messages from one of our affiliated teams of journalists inside Kirkuk. His team has witnessed Hashd Al-Shaabi and other unidentified Iraqi irregulars going door to door and arresting those with Kurdish flags, supporters of the KDP (Kurdistan Democratic Party), and others. The forces were also in search of specific people named on a list. The list is said to include Kurdish activists as well as members of the media, although we could not independently verify the list’s contents at the time of writing.

The contents of the list were determined by those on the ground by talking to those who had their homes ransacked by the Iraqi forces. The armed men would ask about specific people, those asked about were either prominent members of the Kurdish independence movement or journalists.

Many local journalists have fled to Erbil in fear of reprisals or arrest. A second team of journalists, unaffiliated with The Fifth Column, claims to have a copy of the list and will release it once they are certain those named on it are safe in Erbil.

The source has a proven track record with The Fifth Column and has no ethnic loyalty to any party involved. His team has chosen to remain in Kirkuk and attempt to gather more information about the events transpiring there. Given the situation, we hope readers will understand our refusal to openly name the source at this time. More information to follow. 

Kurdish PKK Guerrilla
in Kirkuk Credit: KurdishStruggle, Creative Commons