Baghdad (IraqiNews.com) Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi urged Wednesday a withdrawal of “armed groups” from Kirkuk, saying that federal troops have thoroughly imposed security in the province.
A statement by Abadi said security in Kirkuk has become “under the control of local police with support from the Counter-Terrorism Service”, ordering to “prevent the existence of any armed groups in the province”.
“Security forces in Kirkuk are tasked with protecting the security and properties of citizens of all stripes,” he said.
Iraqi troops, backed by Popular Mobilization Forces, took over Kirkuk province from Kurdish Peshmerga fighters on Tuesday, fulfilling Abadi’s earlier directives to retake areas where sovereignty is disputed with Kurdistan Region’s Government. The military takeover came after Kurdistan voted in September to secede from Iraq.
In his statement, Abadi urged to hold accountable whoever shares vidoes which he deemed fabricated to ignite “hatred” among Arab and Kurdish communities.
Abadi ordered prosecute “those who disseminate hatred and racism” through “fake clips” which seek to “sow sedition among citizens and endanger civil peace”.
Some Kurdish media and social network users have shared videos of what they claimed to be violations by Popular Mobilization Forces, the paramilitary force backing iraqi government troops, upon recapturing Kirkuk province.
Some Kurdish officials had accused PMFs of ransacking Kurdish-owned homes and businesses in Kirkuk and tuz Khurmatu.