Despite the Risks: Citizens of Kirkuk have Easy Access to Weapons

February 8, 2017 at 8:05 pm

The arms sales markets

The Kirkuk Provincial Council is seeking to prevent the traffic of arms in the city of Kirkuk that poses a danger to the security of the citizens. This comes at a time when citizens can easily buy or sell different types of weapons.

The Provincial Council wants to prevent the spread and use of weapons in social and family problems. In the last two years, the number of unidentified bodies found in the northern part of Kirkuk that were killed with weapons and had signs of gunshot wounds increased.

Omer Yusuf is a gun dealer and he works outside of Kirkuk. He told KirkukNow, “We do not sell weapons to citizens under the age of 18. The people we sell weapons to must be trustworthy.”

The arms sales markets

The arms sales market where Omer works is located in the Shuan district and is just 26 km from the center of the city of Kirkuk. The opening of this new market comes after the closing of the two other markets where weapons were previously sold. The two closed markets were in the cities of Rehimava and Hezireke in Kirkuk.

Omer said that, “Selling guns is a normal thing like every other job. We sell weapons for a living.”

At the gun market, all types of guns are sold including pistols, AK-47’s, sniper weapons, RPG’s, and BKC’s.

Jwan Hassan, the chairwoman of the Human Rights Commission and the affairs of women and children in the Kirkuk Provincial Council said, “The problem is the availability of weapons on a large scale in the city of Kirkuk. Every citizen can easily obtain guns, and use them in social and family problems, or for the purpose of committing suicide or to kill others. In the case of increasing the spread of weapons, it will also increase the social problems in the city.”

Kirkuk is characterized by the multitude of ethnic groups and religious communities. After ISIS took control over the regions south of Kirkuk, the cases of finding unidentified bodies in the city of Kirkuk increased.

On February 4th, two young men were found dead in a village in North Kirkuk. There was lead found in the bodies.

Colonel Muhammad Saeed, the director of the Rahimawa police station told KirkukNow, “The two youths were between 20-25 years of age and had gunshot wounds. According to preliminary information, they were killed about 20 days ago.”

The Kirkuk Provincial Council wants to prevent the sale of weapons or constrain sales to avoid the risk of weapons spreading throughout the city.

The Chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights and Women’s Affairs and those in the Provincial Council of Kirkuk said, “We are for preventing arms sales, but sometimes you see people trying to acquire weapons to defend themselves, so it is necessary to determine the conditions for traders in order to achieve the non-proliferation of weapons on a larger scale.”

The gun sellers have the permission of the police. Afrasiau Kamil, the police spokesman of Kirkuk told KirkukNow that, “We should be informed if heavy weapons such as BKC’s and RPG’s are being sold. We are given knowledge about who these weapons are sold to.”

The price of an Iraqi Tariq pistol is around 1300 USD in Rehimava arms sales markets. Photo: Fazil Horami

Afrasiau Kamil said, “We are concerned about the use of such weapons in social and family problems, so it’s better if these heavy weapons are not sold on the gun markets.”

When more than one hundred members of ISIS entered the city of Kirkuk in October of 2016, thousands of civilians came out in the streets with their weapons and fought, and that was deemed as a positive aspect by Kirkuk’s police in dealing with weapons in Kirkuk.

Jwan Hassan said that, “We are controlling the gun traders, but the conditions of Kirkuk and the war against ISIS has made it harder for us to control.”

Last month, the police of Kirkuk arrested a group of people for illegally selling weapons and they were then referred to the court.

The Kirkuk Provincial Council believes that stopping gun trading is difficult at the moment.

Ali Mahdi, a member of the Kirkuk Provincial Council told KirkukNow that, “The Provincial Council passed a resolution definitely banning weapons trade in Kirkuk, but this decision has not yet been implemented.

Ali Mahdi also said that controlling gun trading is not easy at the moment. The solutions for this problem is that, “The gun traders should be known, and they should have an official license from the government.”

SHVAN MUHEMMED

KIRKUKNOW

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