ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – A Yezidi (Ezidi) woman, who was held captive by the Islamic State (IS), has identified the man who kidnapped her and sold her after the militants took over Sinjar (Shingal) in 2014.
Ivana Waleed, a young Ezidi woman in question, recognized the man on Monday after seeing him in a live broadcast being interviewed as he was fleeing the IS-held town of Tal Afar, west of Mosul, as operations to liberate the city began this week.
“This person bought me and sold me more than once,” Waleed wrote on Facebook.
Waleed, who like UN Goodwill Ambassador for the Dignity of Survivors of Human Trafficking Nadia Murad is an advocate for the protection of the Ezidi community and survivors’ sexual enslavement since being rescued from IS militants, took to social media to call out the man she referred to as “Abu Ali.”
“I will never forget his face. He was responsible for buying and selling all the Ezidis in Tal Afar,” Waleed wrote. “Many survivors and I know him well.”
The man was among civilians looking to escape the upcoming battle in Tal Afar when he spoke to a local Arabic-language TV news channel.
On her Facebook post, Waleed announced she was prepared to confront “Abu Ali” on all the “acts” and atrocities he carried out on her and others.
“We ask the government to investigate him [Abu Ali] because most of the [Ezidi] captives were held in Tal Afar. He knows where they are and what happened to them,” she alleged.
Waleed added she knew of other survivors who could confirm the identity of the man who traded and tortured Ezidi women in Tal Afar.
She also warned other IS militants are disguising themselves among civilians. “There are hundreds of evildoers who fled among families,” Waleed said.
The United Nations reported over 30,000 refugees have fled the town of Tal Afar and its outskirts and expects more families to escape as the fight intensifies.
Tal Afar, a Turkmen-majority town, is the last remaining strategic IS stronghold in the Nineveh Province.
The accent spoken by “Abu Ali” in the video suggests he is Turkmen, possibly from Tal Afar itself.
Roughly 3,000 Ezidis, including women and children, are still missing. Many are believed to have at some point been in Tal Afar, which is 50 kilometers west of Shingal.
The ethnoreligious minority was systematically targeted, enslaved, and killed by the militant group when they first overran northern Iraq and occupied Shingal in August 2014.
On July 10, 2017, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared victory over the group in Mosul, but hundreds of Ezidis, mostly women, and children who were likely kept in Iraq’s second largest city, are still missing.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany