Baghdad – Asharq Al-Awsat
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The US-based rights group, Human Rights Watch (HRW), has accused Yazidi fighters in Iraq of forcibly kidnapping and killing 52 civilians from the Imteywit tribe earlier in June.
It said in a report on Wednesday that it has information from relatives of the victims that on June 4 Yazidi forces detained and then executed men, women and children from eight families from the Imteywit tribe.
The families were fleeing fighting between ISIS and Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) west of Mosul.
Deputy Governor of Nineveh province Abdulrahman al-Luizi stressed that the massacre had taken place and called for holding the perpetrators accountable for their crimes. However, a Yazidi official from the PMF claimed that the dead were ISIS members.
Yazidi forces were also implicated in two other incidents of enforced disappearances of members of the Imteywit and Jahaysh tribes in late 2017, HRW said.
“Past atrocities against the Yazidis don’t give its armed forces a free pass to commit abuses against other groups, whatever their past,” said Lama Fakih, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch.
In early 2017, Yazidi fighters formed the Lalish Brigades and the Ezidkhan Brigades, units under the PMF, a force of the Iraqi prime minister, and therefore part of the state’s armed forces.
Two Yazidi community leaders told Human Rights Watch that the Ezidkhan Brigades were responsible for the abduction and killing of the 52 Imteywit tribe members.
Senior Yazidis have alleged that the Imteywit and Jahaysh tribes participated with ISIS in the executions and abuse of Yazidi men and women in August 2014.
Members of the two tribes denied these allegations, claiming the Yazidis were scapegoating them for ISIS atrocities.
“Few months before launching the operation to liberate Sinjar, a Yazidi militia linked to the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) northern Sinjar region committed a crime,” Luizi told Asharq Al-Awsat.
“After the liberation battles, which were overseen by the PMF in Sinjar and Tal Afar areas, a Yazidi faction, under the umbrella of the PMF, killed 52 people, including 27 women, 10 children and 15 men. They also kidnapped eight farmers from the Arab tribes in another incident and their fate is still unknown,” he further explained.