Erbil security thwarts human trafficking attempt at its borders amid COVID-19 crisis
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Erbil Traffic Directorate on Monday announced the seizure at one of its checkpoints of a meat delivery vehicle that was carrying 29 Arab citizens and planning to smuggle them into the Kurdistan Region capital.
“The incident took place on Monday morning when joint police and traffic units at one of the checkpoints on the Mamzawa Road to Erbil city managed to stop a Kia meat-fridge vehicle whose driver claimed he was transporting food to Erbil,” Fazil Haji, Erbil’s Traffic Directorate spokesperson, said in a statement.
According to Haji, 29 male and female Arabs were discovered during an inspection of the truck. The group was planning to enter Erbil without going through medical examinations for COVID-19, he noted.
“The car and the 29 individuals were handed over to Erbil Security Forces (Asayish), as they were transferred under careful supervision to the medical examination center and then to a detention center for severe legal measures, especially against the driver,” the spokesperson added.
Haji also instructed all truck drivers with public transportation licenses not to transport anyone in violation of health advice in any form or under any pressure, warning of serious legal action against anyone who violates the curfew.
In efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has blocked travel and entry between cities in the Kurdistan Region and the rest of the cities in Iraq with the exception of food and certain commercial exchange vehicles.
Besides banning travel via its borders, the regional government has enacted multiple strict precautionary measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus such as temporarily closing schools, declaring extended public holidays for government employees, canceling all religious services and other public gatherings, and imposing a curfew.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany