Kirkuk blames Iraqi army, paramilitary troops for unstable security situation

An army patrol passes by Kirkuk province, raising the Iraqi flag

Kirkuk ( – A Kirkuk provincial official has blamed Iraqi security men and paramilitary forces for the deteriorating security situation in the province.

Speaking to Basnews on Monday, Ahmed al-Askari, a member of Kirkuk provincial council, said, “The occupation of Kirkuk by al-Hashd al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization Forces) militias and the Iraqi army led to an increase in the crime rates and an overall deterioration of the security situation in the province.”

“The Kurdish people have been feeling unsafe within their homes due to the high rates of violent crimes, such as murders and robberies,” Askari pointed out.

He also accused Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi of arrogance when he deals with the Kurdish people, stressing that all Abadi’s stances towards the Kurdish people are illegal and illegitimate.

“Abadi should be aware that he cannot go on with such inhuman practices forever,” Askari concluded.

Iraqi forces took over Kirkuk in mid October in response to a referendum Kurdistan Region held in September for independence from Iraq. Kirkuk is one of the areas where Baghdad and Erbil dispute sovereignty.

The Kurds voted overwhelmingly to break away from Iraq in a referendum held on Sept. 25, defying the central government in Baghdad as well as neighboring Turkey and Iran who have their own Kurdish minorities.

In November, the Supreme Federal Court issued a verdict considering Kurdistan’s independence referendum “unconstitutional”.

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