At the request of the premier, the deputies voted for the dismissal of Nawfal Hammadi al-Sultan and his two deputies. Card Sako: reconstruction needs the help of the international community. Since the tragedy the city has
been the scene of protests. The government fears losing control and a new jihadist rise as in 2014. Mosul (AsiaNews) – The Iraqi parliament voted yesterday for the expulsion of the governor of Nineveh, considered the scapegoat for the tragedy of the Tigris river boat on March 21 that caused the death of 97 people, with at least 70 missing. The tragedy has raised popular indignation and invested the country’s highest offices: the Iraqi president and the governor himself, who had rushed to the scene of the accident, had to leave the area to escape the ire of the citizens. The Chaldean Church expresses its “solidarity” to the population of Mosul in a note shared with AsiaNews. It also adds its “heartfelt condolences” for the families of the victims. “On this occasion – writes Card Luis Raphael Sako – we ask all political, social and religious actors in the province to close ranks and strengthen the objectives of security and stability”. The patriarch’s hope is that the tragedy will be an opportunity to revive the “reconstruction of the infrastructures and homes of citizens” in what was once the stronghold of the Islamic State in Iraq. This reconstruction, he believes, must make use of the contribution of the international community, because “this expensive operation exceeds the capabilities of the Iraqi state”. Previously, even Pope Francis had sent a telegram, signed by State Secretary card Pietro Parolin, to the civil and ecclesiastical authorities. The pontiff had expressed “closeness” to those who “mourn human losses”, invoking “healing, strength and consolation” for the entire Iraqi nation. Returning to the protest, a group of people threw stones and shoes (a gesture, the latter, considered a manifestation of contempt in Arab culture) against the car of the governor Nawfal Hammadi al-Sultan. To escape the crowd, the car accelerated and crashed into two people, one of whom had to resort to medical care in the hospital. In response to the popular uprising, Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi asked Parliament formally to remove al-Sultan from office. According to the law of the country, the assembly has the power to decide the dismissal of local administrators (including the governors) on the recommendation of the premier, in the case of particularly serious events. The two deputies were also fired along with the governor, complying with the request of the head of government. In the letter sent to the deputies, Mahdi accused al-Sultan and his collaborators of negligence, failure to fulfill their duties and also spoke of evidence showing poor management of public funds and abuse of power. According to some local sources the boat carried five times more people than its maximum capacity. The vessel, used for transporting people, was packed with families and tourists who were celebrating the Nowr?z (Kurdish New Year) and was bound for the island of Umm Rabaen, a tourist town about 4 km north of the city center of Mosul. According to some footage, the ferry suddenly tilted to the right, took on water, and then capsized and was dragged downstream by the rushing waters of the river. The tragedy of the ferry was the last, decisive episode that marked the ouster of al-Sultan, for over two years in the sights of the central government because suspected of corruption. In recent days Mosul has been the scene of daily protests by angry citizens. “The city must return to its usual life” underlines General Najim Abed al-Jabouri, one of the three men who make up the crisis unit wanted by the prime minister to govern the transition phase in the northern metropolis. “The hot spots of tension must be extinguished.” He is echoed by his colleague Muzahim al-Khayat, rector of the city’s university, according to whom “a clear message of transparency must be sent to the population: we are here for the people, otherwise we will end up losing the city as in 2014” with the rise of the jihadists of the Islamic State.