Monday, July 30, 2007

Report: Shia militias target 4,000 former Baathists in southern Iraq; 200 killed so far

Above: A Shiite militia member during street fights with British forces in Basra in southern Iraq in May.

Militants in southern areas of Iraq are reportedly targeting former members of the Baath Party in a bid to exterminate them, causing new displacements, according to local non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

At least 200 ex-members of the Baath Party of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein have been killed so far. According to local police, hundreds of families have been forced to flee their homes.

"Militias are conducting a campaign to exterminate over 4,000 members of the Baath Party," said Hassan Dureid, spokesperson for Iraqi Brothers Relief, a local NGO working in southern Iraq. "Most of these people didn't have a choice and were obliged to join the party during the ex-regime."

"Dozens of new widows of ex-members of the Baath Party have reported [the deaths of their husbands] in the past three weeks to southern governorates, and their numbers could increase, according to experts," Dureid added.

Militants affiliated with Shia groups refused to give detailed information about the campaign but said their action was to guarantee the "cleansing of any remnants of Saddam Hussein's regime".

Read the rest at Reuters/Alternet

Related Link:
Report: Internally displaced being rejected, killed in southern Iraq