Baghdad: In what appear to be retaliatory attacks for Islamic State killings, scores of Sunni civilians have been killed by Shia militias in Iraq, complained the Amnesty International.
According to the rights group, which documented several cases of abductions and killings, says that many victims were picked from homes, kidnapped, tortured and killed in cold blood execution-style.
Ministry of Health workers confirmed the details given by families of the victims and witnesses who narrate the grisly account of how scores of dead bodies were found with gunshot wounds and hands tied together at the back – a way reminiscent of how the Islamic State killed several Iraqi soldiers after it occupied a huge swathe of Iraq in June, establishing Caliphate.
Holding the Iraqi government responsible for the serious human rights abuses, including war crimes, committed by these militias, the rights group hinted that the Iraqi Shia militias are often armed and backed by the government which either coordinates with it or supports it in a tacit way.
Confirming the government's role, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi admitted to "excesses" being meted out by by security forces under Nuri al-Maliki government, reported the BBC.
The group added that the government-backed Shi’a militias and Sunni armed opposition groups have both been targeting civilians from each other’s communities
Amnesty International said it has documented dozens of cases of abductions and unlawful killings
by Shi’a militias in Baghdad, Samarra and Kirkuk, adding that such crimes have increased in number since the ISIS captured large territories across Iraq.
Since the IS overran a considerable chunk of raqi soil, “sectarian attacks have spiralled to a level not seen since 2006-2007, the worst period of civil strife in the country’s recent history”.
The Amnesty report comes just a day after he UN highlighted the plight of Iraqis saying nearly two lakh civilians had to flee as IS fighters battled Iraqi security forces in the city of Hit in western Anbar province.
An earlier Amnesty report in June had highlighted how Iraqi Sunni detainees were being killed in cold blood by Iraqi forces.
“Reports of multiple incidents where Sunni detainees have been killed in cold blood while in the custody of Iraqi forces are deeply alarming. The killings suggest a worrying pattern of reprisal attacks against Sunnis in retaliation for ISIS gains,” said Donatella Rovera, Amnesty International’s Senior Crisis Response Adviser, who was in northern Iraq then.