Kikruk (IraqiNews.com) Kurdistan News: Police in Kirkuk have announced a curfew after one person was killed in armed clashes between Kurds and Turkmen, less than one week before the province votes in a highly divisive poll on independence from Iraq.
Police said in an official statement, quoted by Sky News Arabia, that curfew was to apply indefinitely after one Kurd was killed late Monday. He was killed in a clash with the sentry of a Turkmen political party’s office when Kurdish revellers celebrating the referendum passed by the facility, waving Kurdish flags.
According to police, one Turkmen guard at the party’s office and two other Kurds were wounded in the ensuing encounters. Checkpoints were erected across the city.
The developments come one day after Iraq’s Federal Court ruled to cancel the referendum Kurdistan Region had slated for September 25th, and a few days after the Iraqi parliament voted against it.
Since Kurdish authorities scheduled the vote, they have defied calls from Baghdad to postpone the measure. Baghdad’s government has warned against the move repeatedly, with Abadi warning lately of an army intervention if a “yes” vote results in violence. The central government has argued that the measure could throw Iraq into more chaos and distract attention from the fight against Islamic State militants.
Both Baghdad and Erbil have engaged in a political war of words as Erbil declared the inclusion of disputed territories as voting constituencies, most notably oil-rich Kirkuk, a region to which both governments claim sovereignty. The Iraqi parliament has also recently voted for removing Kirkuk governor Najm al-Din Karim, a vocal backer of the referendum, but the latter vowed to stay in office.