Backed by the Kirkuk administration
Dozens of Arab families return to Daquq in soutern Kirkuk

December 2, 2018 at 9:56 am

Kirkuk- Haftaghar area in Daquq, 2018, Photo: KirkukNow

KirkukNow- Kirkuk

An estimated 56 Arab families who had been previously sent back to their areas of origin in Diyala and Salahaddin provinces have returned to the Haftaghar area in Daquq south of Kirkuk province.

The families had returned to their original areas several years ago after receiving compensations from the Iraqi government according to article 140 of the constitution which calls for the normalization of the situation in Kirkuk and other territories disputed between the federal government and the Kurdistan regional government (KRG).

Thousands of Arab families were brought from middle and southern provinces during the former Ba’ath regime and were resettled in and around Kirkuk within a systematic policy to change its demography.

According to witnesses, the Arab families arrived late at night on November 28, escorted by security forces, and immediately erected tents on agricultural lands of which they claim ownership.

The case of agricultural land ownership claims in the area is still being looked into by special committees assigned to resolve the issue.

Mam Krim, 56, a farmer from Haftaghar said, “ Like any other day, I went to work on my farm when I saw a group of Arab families had set up tents on my land.”

“What I saw reminded me of the former regime’s Arabization campaign”, he added.

The Arab families had received compensations according to article 140 before they were sent back to their hometowns

 According to Kurdish officials, hundreds of hectares of agricultural land were confiscated from Kurdish farmers and were given to Arab families whom the regime brought in from other Iraqi provinces in the form of leases.

Barzan Ghazi, head of the committee overseeing the implementation of article 140 in Daquq district council, speaking to (KirkukNow), said, “We have frequently asked the acting governor not to take such a step, but he ignored our requests and brought back more than 50 Arab families from Diyala and Tikrit to Haftaghar.”

Ghazi reiterated that all these families “had already received compensations according to article 140 before they were sent back to their hometowns.”

However he indicated that ownership claims over agricultural lands have not been settled yet.

Hemn Adil, a farmer from Ali village in Haftaghar area said, “We have been urging Kurdish MPs in Baghdad to settle the issue of the agricultural lands according to the law, but nothing has been done about it.”

Azad Rostam, head of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) committee in Daquq said the return of these Arab families was a “shock”, expressing concern of “growing tension” in the area.

Haftaghar is comprised of a number of villages, predominantly populated by Kurds, and is located in Daquq district, 44 km south of Kirkuk.

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