A fight for survival
Kaka’is left with three unpleasant options

Kirkuk, Mohammed Aziz, a Kaka’i farmer, has cultivated his farm late due to the nationwide coronavirus lockdown, June 2020. Photo: KirkukNow

KirkukNow

The Kaka’i minority in the disputed towns of Daquq and Khanaqin are left with three options; evacuation of their villages, forming a Kaka’i security force or securing their protection by the special guards of the Iraqi president until the situation restores. It is unknown which one of the options will be chosen for their survival in their hometown.

The three options were proposed to the Iraqi President, Barham Salih, when he meet with a number of Kaka’i figures at the presidential palace in Baghdad.

The meeting resulted from the attacks on the Kaka’i minority in the districts of Daquq, Kirkuk and Khanaqin, Diyala. Since the outbreak of the coronavirus three months ago, members of Kaka’i minority have been killed and faced threats as well as their agricultural farms have been burned.

Shamsala Goran, who participated in the meeting with the Iraqi president as the representative of the Kaka’i minority in Khanaqin, told KirkukNow that, “we explained the threats posed to the Kaka’i people in Khanaqin, Daquq and the other disputed areas to the Iraqi president. We honestly told him that if they do not protect our lives and solve the security situation, then we will unwillingly evacuate our villages.”

We honestly told him that if they do not protect our lives and solve the security situation, then we will unwillingly evacuate our villages

Besides the option to evacuate their villages, they have proposed two other options to the Iraqi president, which are “forming a force from the Kaka’i members or deploying the presidential guards to the Kaka’i areas until the security situation restores,” Goran said.

The insurgent attacks on the Kaka’i members in the disputed areas have surged with the outbreak of the novel coronavirus the security forces are mandated to impose a curfew to contain the spread of the virus. The curfew has been announced since mid-March.

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Kirkuk, Kaka’i members are gathering in Ali Saray village after the abduction a Kaka’i person, 2017. Photo: KirkukNow 

Since the outbreak of the virus, 15 Kaka’i persons were killed in Daquq and Khanaqin and another eight have been injured, according to a data of the Kaka’i people in Sulaimaniyah and Halabja.

The Kaka’i minority in Sulaimaniyah and Halabja issued a statement in which, they say that, “great damages have been done to the Kaka’i people in Daquq and Khanaqin, including burning their farms and destroying the irrigation system of their farms.”

“If the ethnic cleansing of the Kaka’i is not prevented, they will face a massacre,” the statement mentions.

If the ethnic cleansing of the Kaka’i is not prevented, they will face a massacre

Goran claimed that, “the geography of the Kaka’i villages is at the confrontation line between the extremist groups and the security forces. Majority of the villages are located in the disputed areas, whose ownership is not determined in accordance with the constitution, which is one of the reasons for the attacks.”

“Because our villages are in the disputed areas, then the Iraqi forces and the Kurdish force can be present there based on the article 140 of the constitution. That is important for us as cooperation will increase and we will be protected better.”

Two sources close to the Iraqi president told KirkukNow that the Barham Salih and Prime Minister, Mustafa al-Kdhimi are attempting to find a solution for the concerns of the Kaka’i minority and will arrange a meeting for it soon.

Press conference of the Kaka’i minority in Sulaimaniyah and Halabja against the attacks on the Kaka’i people in the disputed towns of Daquq and Khanaqin on June 18.

One of the sources, who preferred to remain anonymous, said that, “deploying presidential guards to the areas is hard and forming a Kaka’i force is not in the authority of the president, so he and Kadhimi think of another solution.”

Deploying presidential guards to the areas is hard and forming a Kaka’i force is not in the authority of the president

Gorran further added that, “the Iraqi president has precise information on the area and said that he will discuss the situation with the prime minister and will try to find a solution.”

“The Iraqi president said that Kaka’i minority is an integral part of Iraq and should not be sidelined.”

The Kaka’i people have to wait for meetings that might lead to a solution to their problems, while they are losing the efforts and expenses they put into their farms this year as they fear working in a volatile security situation.

Mohammed Aziz, a Kaka’i farmer in Haftaghar area in Daquq, told KirkukNow that, “because of coronavirus and the security situation, the harvesting season of our products are delayed. For instance, in the past years, when okra products were harvested, we sold each kill of it for two thousand Iraqi dinars (IQD) (1.66 dollars), but now each kilo is worth 750 IQD (62 cents) … the better the security and coronavirus situations, the better it would be for us.”

The Kaka’i minority does not accuse a specific group of the attacks but rather call it “a terrorist group”, but in their statement mentions that, “there is a systematic plan to ethnically cleanse and displace the Kaka’i minority.”

In their statement, the called for a certain mechanism to protect the Kaka’i minority in Daquq and Khanaqin, for which they hold the federal and regional governments accountable.

Kaka’i figures meeting with the Iraqi president, Barham Salih on June 21

They also called upon the Global Coalition Against Daesh and the human rights organizations to play their roles in their protection.

Kaka’i minority has now built their hopes on the promises of the Iraqi president and count every second to hear a decision that would save their lives and the source of their income.

However, Zyad Sheikh Fahad, head of one of the Kaka’i tribes in Daquq, said that, “before the outbreak of coronavirus, we informed the Iraqi president about the threats and they formed a military committee to investigate, but it resulted in nothing.”

“Before COVID-19, we were targeted in few areas, but we are currently targeted in many areas and the attacks have surged.”

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