ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Hashd al-Shaabi militias on Wednesday temporarily prevented the deputy governor of Mosul and a Kurdish lawmaker from returning to their homes after an incident at a security checkpoint in Mosul.
The Mosul security checkpoint is under the control of a unit within the Hashd al-Shaabi, also known as the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), Deputy Governor Sirwan Rozhbayani told Kurdistan 24.
Rozhbayani and a Kurdish parliamentarian in Iraq were heading back to their homes when armed men at the security checkpoint blocked them and opened fire.
The Kurdish deputy said he and his colleagues cross many checkpoints daily when they return from work. However, this time, before they reached the last checkpoint on their commute in Mosul, Rozhbayani said PMF and Iraqi security forces stopped their vehicle and “fired upon the rest of the cars.”
“They detained four of my Peshmerga guards briefly as they attempted to abuse them,” Rozhbayani claimed, adding he instructed his security detail not to fire back because of civilians at the checkpoints.
“We were able to cross once a Peshmerga force arrived at our aid,” he told Kurdistan 24.
“The PMF in Nineveh is taking the law into their own hands disregarding any orders even from the Iraqi prime minister himself.”
Checkpoint disputes involving the Shia militias are common, whether abusing civilians or political party officials who are subjected to Hashd al-Shaabi interrogations and some to torture, as they travel to their towns in Nineveh governorate.
The Hashd al-Shaabi was formed in late 2014 after a decision by top Iraqi cleric Ali al-Sistani to protect Shia shrines in central and southern Iraq from the threat of Islamic State attacks. The Shia force has repeatedly been accused of being under the direct command of Tehran rather than Baghdad.
International human rights organizations have also accused the PMF of committing war crimes in the fight against the so-called Islamic State.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany