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Kirkuk governor asks army to step in after disturbances

Middle East | 2019-01-09 16:07:00
Kirkuk governor asks army to step in after disturbances
The governor of Kirkuk on Wednesday asked the central government in Baghdad to send military reinforcements to the province after members of a Kurdish political party raised Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) flags at a rally.

Late Tuesday, Iraqi security forces in Kirkuk dispersed a rally staged by supporters of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) after the latter began waving KRG flags.

The Erbil-based KRG had controlled the oil-rich Kirkuk province from mid-2014 until late 2017.

Kirkuk Governor Saeed al-Jabouri has reportedly urged local residents to refrain from any activities that could aggravate tensions further.

“We have directed the security forces to address the situation with a view to safeguarding the city’s security and stability," he was quoted as saying.

Al-Jabouri has reportedly requested that Baghdad send military reinforcements “to thwart those who would attempt to undermine security".

In a Wednesday statement, the Iraqi Turkmen Front criticized PUK supporters for raising the flags, saying the move was intended “to raise tensions”.  

“[Raising KRG flags] violates both the law and the Iraqi state’s sovereignty over Kirkuk,” the statement read.

In October 2017, Iraqi federal forces moved into several areas “disputed” between Baghdad and Erbil, including Kirkuk.

The deployments were accompanied by the withdrawal from these areas of Kurdish Peshmerga fighters loyal to the KRG.

The moves came shortly after the KRG held an illegitimate referendum on regional independence that was widely condemned by states of the region.

Anadolu Agency
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