ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The head of the Kurdistan Region’s office dedicated to the rescue of Yezidis (Ezidis) captured by the Islamic State announced that they would continue searching until every last one of the kidnapped members of the minority group is found.
Hussein Qaedi, head of the office, in a press conference on Monday stated that “out of a total of 6,417 kidnapped Ezidis, we were able to find and rescue 3,524 individuals. However, 2,893 are still to be found.”
The Ezidi Rescue Office was awarded the Mother Teresa Memorial Award for Social Justice on Nov. 3 in Mumbai, at the 15th annual award ceremony whose theme was “Combating Contemporary Forms of Slavery.”
Qaedi also affirmed they had been “instructed by the president of the Kurdistan Region, Nechirvan Barzani, to continue with our efforts until the last Ezidi is found and rescued.”
The emergence of the Islamic State and its violent assault on Iraq’s Ezidi-majority city of Sinjar (Shingal) in August 2014 led to the displacement of hundreds of thousands of members of the community and the killing of thousands, while the Islamic State kidnapped 6,284 Ezidis, among them 3,467 women and 2,717 men.
Since then, the Kurdistan Regional Government has used every resource available to find and rescue them, creating a special committee with an allocated budget for information gathering and to follow-up on the missing cases.
Prior to the 2014 attack, there were roughly 550,000 Ezidis in the Kurdistan Region and Iraq. As the jihadist group took over large swaths of territory in Nineveh Province, 360,000 Ezidis escaped and found refuge elsewhere, according to the Ezidi Rescue Office.
Editing by Nadia Riva