Terrorism

ISIS threatens Iraq's Kakai minority

By Khalid al-Taie

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A group of Kakai men gather in the village of Zankal in the plains of Ninawa in late 2015 to discuss the affairs of their village. [Photo courtesy of Saady Alkakey]

Iraqi forces on Friday (August 18th) beefed up security measures in areas inhabited by Kakais following threats against them by the "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS).

ISIS's "sharia court" in the city of al-Hawija in western Kirkuk issued a "fatwa" calling for the killing of Kakais, a Kurdish religious minority whose members are concentrated in southern Kirkuk and in the plains of Ninawa, according to local sources.

The ruling "is nothing out of the ordinary for a terrorist group with an ideology of killing, destruction, and the spread of division and fear", said Saady Alkakey, the head of Zankal village in the Ninawa plains.

Thousands of Kakais were displaced from their villages after ISIS occupied them at the end of 2014, he told Diyaruna.

Iraqi security forces recaptured the villages late last year, he said, adding that they had all been destroyed and their residents displaced, "except for our village of Zankal, which the terrorists had not reached".

Abuses continue

Even after ISIS was expelled from the area, the Kakais continued to suffer from the remnants of ISIS, Alkakey said.

Fourteen civilians were killed in improvised explosive devices (IEDs) planted by ISIS around the area as they were heading back to their villages to check on their houses, he said.

On July 26th, ISIS attacked a Kakai family in Daqouk district in southern Kirkuk, he said, killing three of the family's members and taking two prisoners, whose fate is yet unknown.

The same area last week saw a violent attack by ISIS elements on military bases where local fighters from the Kakai regiment are stationed.

The attack was foiled, Alkakey said, but caused the death of three Kakai fighters while seven others were wounded.

Iraqi forces are increasing security in all Kakai villages by deploying more fighters, dispatching patrols, and setting up checkpoints -- particularly in villages located near ISIS-held areas.

These protective measures are necessary to block any possible terrorist attacks, Alkakey said, calling on Iraqi forces to hunt down ISIS sleeper cells, as they are a major threat to safety and stability.

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