The Criminal Court in Kirkuk ordered the release of two farmers of the Kakayi minority, more than three months after they were arrested by Iraqi federal police in Daquq, south of Kirkuk.
Hussein Atiya and Gharib Kwekha Salim were arrested last August by an intelligence unit operating within the federal police’s 18th division in Topzawa village, and were freed on Thursday November 14, 2019.
“After spending three months in detention both farmers were proved innocent and were cleared of terrorism by the court,” a relative of one of the farmers told KirkukNow.
Hussein Atiya, who is a prominent Kakayi figure in Topzawa, the largest Kakayi-populated village in Daquq was arrested in August; hours after several mortar shells fell near his house.
Relatives of the freed farmers expressed resentment that they were “falsely accused of crimes they didn’t commit”, indicating that the Kakayi minority was itself a target of extremist groups.
A series of violent attacks in a number of Kakayi-inhabited villages of Daquq in the past few months had forced residents to flee their homes.
Seven people were killed and ten others injured in a mortar attack targeted Zainal-Abidin village in southern Kirkuk’s on August 24.
Daquq district, 44 km south of Kirkuk, was a frontline during the war against the Islamic State (IS) group.
After the Kurdish Peshmarga forces withdrew from the area on October 16, 2017, security responsibilities fell in the hands of Iraqi federal forces.