ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Iranian border guards detained 11 nomads and shepherds inside the neighboring Kurdistan Region on Sunday morning after confiscating hundreds of their sheep, the mayor of the town of Haji Omaran said later that day.
Mayor Farzang Ahmed told Kurdistan 24, citing claims of locals, that the troops infiltrated the autonomous Kurdistan Region’s border a full four kilometers deep and took some 440 sheep.
“Later, nomads, along with their families, approached the border to look for their missing sheep, but Iranian border guards then also arrested them,” he continued, stating that the Iranian forces later released the women among them but continued to detain 11 male nomads, most of whom were shepherds.
Haji Omaran is one of the Kurdish towns in Erbil province that borders Iran, some 100 kilometers northeast of the Kurdistan Region’s capital.
Mayor of the nearby town of Choman, Ahmed Qadir, also confirmed that the incident took place in a location known as the Ghalarashan steppes, further stating that he had informed authorities above him regarding the nomads' claim.
“Through the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) departments, we have asked for clarification from the Iranian side,” Qadir told Kurdistan 24 in the hours following the incident.
All the nomads were released at noon after the intervention of KRG authorities, a government source told Kurdistan 24. The livestock, however, remains confiscated.
Similar incidents have often taken place between the Kurdistan Region and neighboring Iran as border guards take strict measures in the area, allegedly due to the local presence of Iranian Kurdish (Rojhilati) opposition fighters in such areas.
Over the past few years, Iran has repeatedly shelled the Kurdistan Region’s border villages, resulting in the evacuation of hundreds of villages and causing significant environmental damage to agricultural lands.
Editing by John J. Catherine
(Additional reporting by Tayfur Mohammed)