ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Iraqi ministry of interior has removed six Kurdish officers from their posts in Kirkuk amid ongoing Arabization policies by the central government in the disputed provinces between Erbil and Baghdad.
Kirkuk is an oil-rich province located south of the Kurdistan Region and north of the Iraqi capital of Baghdad. The multi-ethnic region has a diverse population made up of Kurds, Turkmen, Arabs, and Christians. Kurds, however, account for the majority of the population.
Azad Jabari, Head of Security Committee at Kirkuk Provincial Council, stated on Thursday that the Iraqi government’s ministry of interior sacked six Kurdish police officers from their posts.
Jabari added that two of the main officers who had been sacked by the federal interior ministry are directors of Kirkuk traffic police and security at government buildings.
“With the efforts of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan’s (PUK) Branch 2 in Kirkuk, the ministry and the command of the province’s police have temporarily suspended the changes,” the provincial council member stated.
Jabari noted the temporary suspension of the decision is inconsequential, adding that Baghdad could implement the choice whenever it pleases.
Iraqi forces and Iran-backed Shia militias have been in control of Kirkuk since driving Kurdish Peshmerga forces from the province last October.
Since then, many Kurdish officials have been removed from their posts and replaced with non-Kurdish ethnic groups.
Among them are the Governor, Kirkuk’s Security Director, Health Director General, Agriculture Director General, the Mayors of Kirkuk city, Dibis, Daquq, and Khurmatu, as well as the District and Suburban Police Director.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany