At least 1,000 civilians forcibly disappeared from Mosul, Anbar since start of operations: Observatory

Civilians leave the city to escape from clashes during a battle with Islamic State militants, in al-Zirai district in Mosul, Iraq, January 18, 2017. REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed

( More than 1,000 civilians forcibly disappeared during operations launched in Mosul city and Anbar province, the Iraqi Observatory for Human Rights (IOHR) has said.

In a report issued on Tuesday the observatory said it received “several reports from Anbar and Mosul over forced disappearance of people aging between 15-60 years old during military operations. However, the relatives of the victims did not file complaints as they did not know their whereabouts or to preserve their lives in some cases.”

In Nineveh, where fierce clashes are taking place between the Iraqi troops, backed by the international troops, and the Islamic State militants, in the western regions, more than 100 civilians disappeared in late April.

“160 displaced young men disappeared last week while fleeing Hatra, northwest of Mosul. Their destiny has been unknown yet,” Ali al-Ahmadi, an official in Hatra, told IOHR.

“Gunmen from the al-Hashd al-Ashaeri [tribal mobilization] in Mosul were behind the abduction for political purposes,” he said.

The report quoted other sources as saying that the kidnapped could be from villages near Hatra and that they were abducted while fleeing to Tal Abta camp. However, the sources indicated tribal and political conflicts that could have pressured some parties to use power and weapon against whom they believe are opponents from the civilians.

In Anbar, the report tackled the abduction of 902 civilians in 2016 from al-Razaza district by gunmen, Mohamed al-Karbouli, member of the parliamentary committee of defense and security, told the observatory.

Two women and three men in Amriyat al-Fallujah camp, located west of Baghdad, said they have sons, siblings and husbands who were kidnapped while fleeing Fallujah almost a year ago when the operations started to liberate the city.

A woman from Anbar said her three sons were kidnapped by gunmen from the road between Fallujah and Amriyat al-Fallujah.

The observatory urged the Iraqi government to declare the outcome of interrogations that should have been previously released by investigations committees.

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