ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – A member of the Kurdish security service (Asayish) was kidnapped in Kirkuk Province by unknown gunmen, security sources and witnesses said on Monday.
The incident comes at a time where the security situation in Kirkuk has deteriorated since the Iraqi army and Iranian-backed Shia Hashd al-Shaabi militias takeover of the disputed province from Peshmerga.
A security source and witnesses, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Kurdistan 24 that unidentified gunmen riding in a civilian car kidnapped a member of the Asayish on Sunday night in the Runaki neighborhood, located in central Kirkuk.
According to some witnesses, the kidnapping took place around 10:00 p.m. and involved “four gunmen who had stolen a car in the Qadissiya neighborhood, eastern Kirkuk.”
“The Asayish was a member of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan’s (PUK) security apparatus,” one witness said. “He was taken to an unknown location.”
Meanwhile, security sources reported another incident in a northern suburb of Kirkuk involving four gunmen who stormed a house belonging to a Kurdish family, holding them hostage then releasing them after stealing 200 million dinars.
The security source said the gunmen were wearing military uniforms and that their whereabouts were currently unknown.
No one has claimed responsibility for either incident which comes as assassinations, robberies, kidnappings, and other criminal activities are on the rise in Kirkuk since the Oct. 16 military takeover by Iraqi forces and Shia militias.
Last week, gunmen assassinated a member of the Turkmen Front Party as well as a lawyer as strings of unclaimed attacks in the disputed area continue.