ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Iraqi security forces have allegedly arrested a Kurdish man who accused them on live television of being responsible for a wave of recent fires across farmlands in disputed territories.
According to locals in the village of Haftaghar in the Daquq district of Kirkuk province, Iraqi forces detained a young Kurd named Omed Ahmed three days ago during the night. His family is still unaware of his whereabouts.
“An Iraqi security unit arrived, and without any warning or an arrest warrant, they cuffed him and took him away,” Ahmed’s cousin told Kurdistan 24.
“They took him to an unknown location, and we don’t know his whereabouts nor what has happened to him,” the cousin added.
Ahmed spoke to Kurdistan 24 last week while he and other villagers were desperately attempting to put out a fire that was consuming his families’ unharvested crops. During the interview, he blamed the Iraqi security forces for the fires that were spreading in their village.
His family and other residents in the village have pleaded with Kurdish authorities to find a solution as they believe their constitutional right of freedom of speech is being violated.
Over 30,730 acres of farmland have been burned in less than one month in a recent wave of fire incidents across 11 provinces in Iraq, according to data provided by the Iraqi Ministry of Agriculture.
In disputed areas such as Kirkuk, Kurdish farmers have suffered significant losses to the flames. Some farmers also claim the fires are ethnically-motivated intimidation tactics to get them to vacate their areas.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany