ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Iraqi forces arrested Adham Jum’a, the head of Movement for Kurdish Right in Kirkuk, Monday evening for advocating widespread strikes on Oct. 16, the anniversary of the Kirkuk takeover.
A few days ago, Jum’a held a press conference and called for a strike to mark the first anniversary of the Oct. 16 events and protest the “imposed military rule” by Iraqi forces and Shia militias.
“The forces that stormed my brother’s house late night were Iraqi Counter Terrorism Units,” Jum’a’s brother, Zaniyar, alleged when speaking with Kurdistan 24.
“They claimed they have an arrest warrant from a court against Jum’a,” he added.
“His arrest may be related to the presser he held a few days ago, in which he called on people civil disobedience take some civic actions, including a strike by shopkeepers and workers.”
Kirkuk is an oil-rich province located in the south of the Kurdistan Region and north of Iraq. It is a multi-ethnic region with a diverse religious background, made up of Kurds, Turkmen, Arabs, and Christians. Kurds account for the majority of the population.
Kirkuk is also a disputed territory between the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and the federal government of Iraq. The province has undergone severe systematic campaigns of demographic change to ‘Arabize’ the region and obstruct the Kurdistan Region’s claim on it.
Last October, in response to the Kurdistan Region’s historic independence referendum, Iraqi forces and the Iran-backed Hashd al-Shaabi militias attacked Kurdish Peshmerga in Kirkuk and other disputed areas, ousting the Kurdish forces that had previously fought alongside them in the war against the Islamic State (IS).
“We hold Iraqi forces responsible for any torture and threat my brother may face,” Zaniyar added.
He called on political parties and organizations to respond to “the illegal actions of the current Kirkuk administration and military commanders, as well as to put a stop to the year-long oppression of the people of Kirkuk.”
Kurds have often criticized the current administration of Kirkuk, namely acting Governor Rakan Saeed, for pursuing policies that support Arabization campaigns to change the current demographic makeup of Kirkuk, something Saeed denies.
Editing by Nadia Riva