171 Anfal bodies not returned to Kurdistan Region: official
A Mass grave team checks remains of bodies believed to have been killed in the 1980s during Saddam Hussein's Anfal campaign against the Kurds in Tal al-Sheikhiya in the southern province of Mutahanna, Iraq, July 23, 2019. Photo by Hussein al-Khazali/ AFP
Zhyan News Network
SULAIMANI – Chamchamal District Mayor Ramak Ramazan said on Tuesday (April 13) that preparations have been made for the restoration of the remains of 171 bodies killed during the notorious Anfal campaign by former Iraqi regime in the 1980s.
Ramak told Zhyan News Network that the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and the federal government have halted the recovery process due to their anti-COVID-19 protective measures.
Through resorting to genocide, mass murder, ethnic cleansing, forced disappearance and counter-insurgency, more than 180,000 ethnic Kurds were killed and buried mostly in Iraq’s southern deserts and more than 5,000 villages were pillaged and destroyed by forces affiliated with the Baathists regime.
'Anfal', the eighth chapter or Surah, in the Quran was used by the Baathists for the massacre of the Kurdish nation during the final years of Iran-Iraq war in 1988.
Kurds, especially locals in Garmian administration, usually commemorate it on April 14.
Norway, Sweden, the UK and South Korea recognize the Anfal campaign as genocide.
Since the toppling of Hussein’s regime in 2003, remains of many victims have been returned to the Kurdistan Region, but many still remain in the mass graves in southern Iraq.
“We will not commemorate the 33th anniversary of Anfal like the previous years due to the arrival of Ramadan and the spread of coronavirus,” the official said, as the ceremonies were also restricted last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
He also said that he had sent a memorandum to the Kurdistan Parliament containing demands by the Anfal victims for infrastructure projects in the affected area.
“One of the demands is the recognition of Chamchamal as the capital of the martyrs and Anfal victims as the Sulaimani Provincial Council has recognized it as the Capital of Martyrs and Anfal Victims, but the Kurdistan Parliament has not voted on it,” he said.
The official also said that the Kurdistan Parliament will bring up the memorandum during its session on Wednesday.
Former Kurdistan Region lawmaker Salar Mahmoud said that remains of over 170,000 bodies of Anfal victims are still in the mass graves in the southern deserts, claiming only less than 4,000 bodies have returned to the Kurdistan Region.