ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Sulaimani Police on Thursday released details of an investigation into the circumstances of an incident Wednesday night that suggested a journalist had killed his spouse and child before taking his own life.
Security forces found the bodies of Amanj Babani, a presenter for the local NRT television channel, dead along with his wife, Lana Mohammed, and their three-year-old child. Mohammed was also a TV personality, having previously worked with another station, Kurdsat.
NRT, which is affiliated with local opposition party New Generation Movement (NGM), initially wrote that the family had been “assassinated” in their car in an area near the outskirts of the city called Sharazour Terminal. It also reported that the victims were “shot in the head” and killed on the spot.
Other local media, however, reported a different accountof the crime, with one citing a police source as saying that preliminary investigations had shown Babani had shot his wife and three-year-old child, eventually taking his own life.
This appears to have been confirmed by the city’s authorities, as Sulaimani police chief Brigadier General Aso Sheikh Taha early onThursday held a press conference and stating the forensic analysis of the bodies suggested Babani had committed suicide.
He said the gun fired into his head from a distance of about three centimeters.
Sheikh Taha said a gun was present in Babani’s vehicle, adding that the vehicle had not come under fire from the outside as would have likely been the case had the family been shot at by gunmen. He also cited witness testimonies to back this claim.
The police chief confirmed six bullets had been fired at Mohamed and her child while a seventh was shot at Babani’s head. The vehicle also suffered a minor collision, he added, suggesting the car was still moving when Babani, the driver, was killed.
Sheikh Taha said, “we will not talk about the causes of the incident and we leave this matter to the judiciary and the press to investigate. We have all the information on the details and the cause of the incident.”
Such cases of violence are rare in the Kurdistan Region. The authorities often attribute such incidents to family or tribal disputes.
Editing by Nadia Riva