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Kurdish Kakai pundit demands incorporation into Iraqi Kurdistan for safety

2018/06/14 | 23:25

(Iraq Now News)-

Prominent Kurdish Kakai figure Sirwan Kakai , Erbil, Iraq’s Kurdistan region, June 13, 2018.

Photo: Rudaw TV

HEWLÊR-Erbil, Iraq’s Kurdistan region,— Facing increased abductions and threats to the Kakai community, the Kurdish ethno-religious group accuse the Iraqi Army and Shiite militias of being “negligent and unable” to provide security to their areas in Kirkuk and thus call for the solution of the incorporation of Kirkuk and other disputed areas into the Kurdistan Region.

“The demand of the Kakais is the demand of the people of Kurdistan.

We want the situation of Kirkuk and the disputed areas normalized and incorporated into the Kurdistan Region,” Sirwan Kakai, a prominent Kakai figure and a political pundit, told Rudaw English on Wednesday.

Kakai added their community is suffering from the continued presence of ISIS in the region because of a “huge security vacuum.”

Kurdish security forces withdrew from Kirkuk after a federal takeover by Iraqi forces supported by Iran-backed Hashd al-Shaabi paramilitaries in October 2017.

Kirkuk is diverse and a disputed or Kurdistani city claimed by Baghdad and Erbil.

Kurdish authorities would like to see their security apparatus redeployed to the disputed areas to better provide safety for locals.

“We just want our areas to be protected and as long as the Peshmerga is not in Kirkuk, Shingal, Khanaqin, Mandali and all the other disputed territories, our situation will remain as such,” Kakai said.

He said that the Iraqi Army and Hashd during the October events “never fought against ISIS militants and they directly drove into Kirkuk, leaving behind the group undefeated.”

ISIS militants, who were once in Hawija, are now in Hamrin Mountains and in southern Kirkuk’s remote areas, Kakai added.

He pointed at the growing number of kidnapped Kakais, saying the remaining Kakais are not willing to abandon their homes.

In the latest string of abductions, a group of ISIS militants abducted five people including prominent member of a Kakai village.

Jamal Shakur, a PUK official in Kirkuk has told Rudaw that since the October events, “ISIS has gone to the [Kakai] villages in this area multiple times.”

The Kakais are a Kurdish ethno-religious group.

Their ancient faith is not recognized by the Iraqi government, so they are considered Muslim.

Kakais are spread across the Nineveh Plains, Mosul city, Khabat town in Erbil, Kirkuk, Daquq and its surrounding villages, Khanaqin and Kalar, Mandali and Halabja.

“My relatives in the Daquq area keep telling me that ‘either we are getting killed or we are not willing to abandon home,’ ” said Kakai.

The lack of security in areas surrounding Kirkuk has made many other Kakai and Kurdish activists and pundits upset.

“What really makes us sad is that in the Daquq area, where there were 12 Kakai villages, all are now empty.

There is no longer security in the area,” Rajab Asi Kakai, an activist, told Rudaw.

Rajab Asi Kakai said there were Peshmerga, Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), and Kakai regiments in the area previously.

“The Iraqi forces and Hashd al-Shaabi cannot provide security for the people of the region from ISIS threats; therefore, we have asked the UN to reach out to the people of the area and put an end to the ISIS threats,” said Kakai.

Although Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared ISIS defeated in Iraq in December 2017, remnants of the group have carried out sporadic hit and run attacks, kidnappings, property theft.

Sirwan Kakai estimated his people number roughly 150,000-200,000 in the Kurdistan Region including in the disputed areas.

In the Iraqi parliament, Kakais do not have a representative, he said, however, they were never for the idea of dedicating a quota seat for the Kakais.

“Because, for us, there is a Kurdish cause, not a Kakai cause,” Sirwan Kakai said.

He believes a quota seat “diminishes” the communities.

Iraq has nine quota seats for minority groups, including five for Christians, and one each for Feyli Kurds, Yezidis, Mandaeans, and Shabaks.

By Zhelwan Z.

WaliCopyright ©, respective author or news agency, rudaw.net

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