Authorities have embarked on the creation of a cemetery in Shingal (Sinjar)’s Kojo village where the remains of 300 victims are due to be reburied.
The cemetery is being built by villagers in coordination with Kojo organization for Development and the Iraqi federal government-supported team tasked with the exhumation of the Shingal mass graves.
Dawud Khatari, media director of the Council of Ezidi Victims’ Relatives said the cemetery is comprised of “300 graves where remains of Ezidi victims will be reburied after the identification process of the remains are concluded.”
The first mass grave of Ezidi victims slaughtered by Islamic State fighters after they overran Shingal in August 2014 was unearthed on March 15, 2019. Since then, the remains of 200 victims have been recovered from 16 mass graves.
The remains were sent to the Baghdad-based Medico-Legal Directorate for forensic analysis.
“We had planned to rebury the victims on August 15, the 5th anniversary of the Kojo massacre; however, the forensic analysis would not be completed by then,” said Khatari.
He indicated that the lab tests are due to be completed in September; therefore the remains will be reburied then.
Another cemetery is planned to be built in eastern Shingal for the rest of the victims of the genocide of Ezidis.
Earlier, Major Falah Hasan, member of the Board of Investigation and Evidence Collecting said, “In four months, 16 mass graves have been exhumed in Kojo, which contained the remains of 235 victims, and were sent to Baghdad.”
He explained that the work of the teams were brought to a halt due to rising temperatures, and is expected to resume in September.
According to statistics by the Directorate of Ezidi Affairs in the KRG’s Ministry of Endowment and Religious Affairs, a total of 80 mass graves have been found in Shingal district in addition to dozens of individual graves of victims slaughtered by IS after they overran the area in August 2014.
As many as 2,893 people were killed while the fate of more than 3 thousand Ezidis abducted by the group, most of them women, remains unknown.
Shingal district, predominantly populated by the Ezidi community, was controlled by IS on August 3, 2014, and was recaptured on November 13, 2015.