Akre – The cause that led to the recent clashes between Muslim Kurds and Ezidi refugees on Friday in a refugee camp located in Akre has now been clarified.
About 12,000 refugees are currently housed at the refugee camp of Mamilian, including around 9,000 Ezidis from Shingal as well as 3,000 Muslim Kurds who had to flee from the Iraqi metropolis of Mosul. This camp for internally displaced persons was completed earlier this year and is under the management of Dohuk Province. In March this year, UNHCR estimated the number of refugees living in the camp at 12,503.
An ezidiPress correspondent went to the refugee camp to obtain information on the course of the incident. The camp administration told him that the Kurds in the camp had asked for the construction of a mosque on the premises of the camp. The Ezidis, however, protested the plan, claiming that there was no plausible reason for the construction since there were already hundreds of mosques located in that area, adding that the call of the Mueezin would further traumatize those Ezidi women and children who had to flee from the “Islamic State” from Shingal.
On Friday morning, a verbal dispute then erupted between members of the Kurdish Shabak, Zebari and Harky tribes on the one side and Ezidis on the other. The heated verbal exchange continued until noon. Soon after, the Muslim Kurds of the camp called in their fellow tribe members from the surrounding areas who rushed to the scene armed and in the hundreds, surrounding the camp and firing shots in the air, as several refugees confirmed.
“The Kurds mobilized their relatives and fellow tribe members from the villages who then surrounded the camp. They were armed and fired shots over the camp and shouted slogans of DAESH (editor´s note: Arabic acronym for IS) terrorists. When they shouted that they would do the same to us what the IS did, the Ezidi families began to hide their women and children out of concern for them”, says an Ezidi refugee describing the course of the incident.
In several places the mob finally broke into the refugee camp, whereupon the situation escalated. Two Ezidis were seriously injured and had to be treated in hospital while other Ezidi refugees were slighlty injured. Only after security forces and Peshmerga penetrated into the camp, the mob began to dissolve. The security forces cordoned off the camp until the next day because more clashes could not be excluded.
Back in 2013, the Zebari tribe had attacked and surrounded the Assyrian village Rabatki near Akre. As on Friday, tribe members had fired shots over the village to intimidate the non-Muslim villagers. The large Harky tribe is widely considered as Islamic-conservative. The majority of the Kurdish population took in the Ezidis fleeing from the IS in August last year, providing for them for weeks. However, conflicts consistently flare up again.
Several Ezidi families have already fled from the camp. In contrast to the camps located in Sharya, Esiya, Baadre or Khanke near the Kurdish town of Duhok, the Mamilian refugee camp is not situated in an area that is predominantly inhabited by Ezidis. The Ezidi MP Vian Dakhil visited today the camp and promised to relocate the refugees to another one. The refugees are now supposed to be transferred to a newly built camp called Meme Reshan in Sheikhan region.
© ÊzîdîPress, 26th Sep 2015