Parliamentary speaker sheds light on “massacre” in two villages in Diyala Province

By Sabah al-Khalidi

Azzaman, January 29, 2015

Unruly militias have committed a “massacre” in the villages of Sharween and Barwana in the Province of Diyala which Iraqi troops say they have purged of Islamic State militants, according to Parliamentary Speaker Saleem al-Jibouri.

What happened in these two villages “is horrific as tens innocent civilians were killed … in a vicious massacre,” Jibouri said in a statement faxed to Azzaman.

Jibouri said the inhabitants of the two villages, who are predominantly Sunnis, had cooperated with Iraqi troops and volunteers in purging their areas of Islamic State militants.

However, he said, when the villages were liberated and the inhabitants returned to their homes, they were attacked by militias who drove into their areas with their four-wheel drives.

He did not identify the attackers but they are believed to belong to powerful Shiite militia groups who mostly operate on their own and with much impunity.

Jibouri said the villagers cooperated fully with the security forces against the jihadist group and together they dealt the militants in their area a good blow.

But what happened when the villagers returned to their homes “raises eyebrows and more than one question,” he said.

“Groups with four-wheel drive cars and shaded windows destroyed mosques and burned houses, raising hateful sectarian slogans and bent on vengeance while the security forces looked on,” Jibouri said.

“It was a horrific and barbaric scene,” he added.

Jibouri urged the government to bring the perpetrators to justice, launch an investigation into the incident and compensate the victims.