Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Death Squads Slowly Resurging in Baghdad

Death Squads Slowly Resurging in Baghdad
Sadrist Movement Sacks Two Officials; Kurdish Editor Released by KRG Authorities

In a new sign of the resurgence of death squads, both Sunni and Shia, despite an ongoing U.S.-Iraqi security operation, several dozen people were found dead across the country Monday. In Ramadi, west of Baghdad, Iraqi police uncovered 17 decomposed bodies buried beneath two schoolyards, all thought to be victims of Al-Qaeda and Islamic State of Iraq militants, who until recently controlled the turbulent city in the heart of the Anbar governorate, west of Iraq. An Iraqi police source said that one body had not yet been removed because it was thought to be booby-trapped.

In Baghdad, 25 bodies with signs of torture were found dumped in different areas yesterday, bringing the total over the last three days to 67, the highest number since the start of the U.S.-led Imposing Law security operation. Anecdotal evidence from local sources in Baghdad suggest the numbers are much higher, since many corpses are left on the street for days without being picked up by authorities.

Residents in the Sunni-majority district of Adhamiya reported several bodies in their area, including one in the middle of the commercial Dhubat Street left by insurgents who were described as “Al-Qaeda” by locals. Almost all victims are Sunni, some of them members of rival insurgent groups, local council members, or Islamic Party members and other Sunnis who have participated in the political process, according to residents. They said anyone who dares even look at the body, let alone touch it or remove it, would risk immediate execution by militants. U.S. and Iraqi forces are just a few hundred meters away at the newly renovated Adhamiya police station, residents said, but they are usually oblivious to what is going on around them behind the concrete blast walls when they are not out on patrol. Similar scenes are described in many parts of western and southern Baghdad.

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