Newspaper: Christian militias stonewall repatriation of Nineveh refugees

Deportation of Arab families in Kirkuk.

Nineveh ( A newspaper has quoted Iraqi refugees seeking repatriation at their home areas in Nineveh as claiming that Christian militias were blocking their return.

London-based Alquds Alarabi quoted civilians from Nineveh Plains saying Christian paramilitary troops were peventing them from returning to their home regions, accusing them of “supporting terrorism”, which, one refugee said, prompted them to return to camps.

The paper, quoting the anonymous refugee, said contacts with municipal officials concerning the complaints were futile.

Another refugee, who identified himself as “Abu Mostafa”, said “since the group (Islamic State) entered the town, I left with my family to the province. Now, we want to go back home, but we were blocked by Christian groups.”

Muayed, another refugee, labeled the situation “an obvious demographic change” at Nineveh plains induced by “parties in control there”. He claimed that their residences were ransacked and plundered.

Abdul-Jabbar, another civilian seeking to return to the region, said Christian armed groups told him it was not safe to let him back, an argument which he said was not convincing. “Our regions had been liberated long time ago, and are fully secure. They just want to find a pretext to prevent Arab families from returning to their villages.”

Nineveh Plains used to host a multi-ethnic and -religious population. The region was recaptured last year before Iraqi government forces announced they retook eastern Mosul in January. Islamic State had reportedly damaged religious shrines in the region and forcibly deported residents.

Battles between Iraqi security and Islamic State militants in Nineveh have forced more than 400.000 since October.

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