jeudi 31 janvier 2008

Iraq's Turkmens of Kerkuk appeal for Government protection - AFP

Thursday January 31st, 2008 / 12h57

BAGHDAD (AFP)--Turkmens of Kirkuk, Iraq's northern oil hub which is riven with ethnic tension, called Thursday for the government to protect them and indirectly threatened to create their own militia.

"We once again urge the government to protect Turkmens who are victims of acts of genocide," said a statement by the Iraqi Turkmen Front, the main political party representing the country's Turkish-speaking minority. "Violence continues to harvest the lives of innocent Turkmen; their mosques, their cafes and the playgrounds of their children are all targets...abductions are continuing on the roads," the statement read.

The statement said the plight of the Turkmens is being ignored by the local and central authorities. It demanded the "formation of a Turkmen military force within existing Iraqi military units to protect Turkmen territories." If the demand isn't met, Turkmen may create their own militia to protect their communities, the statement implied, by quoting a verse of the Koran.

The statement was issued after the discovery Wednesday of the decapitated bodies of two young Turkmens near Tuz Khurmatou which lies on the main road between Baghdad and Kirkuk.

Four Turkmens were also kidnapped near the town of Amirly on Wednesday, police said.

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