The whereabouts of a man who was detained by a security force in Kirkuk four years ago remains unknown. His parents point the finger at the Kirkuk branch of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and say they saw their son’s car at their headquarters.
The man’s name is Hunar Salah; he is 33 years old and has a son and a daughter. He used to co-own a café in Kirkuk named Roma. He was detained in 2016 along with his friend and co-owner of the café in 2016 when he was visiting him at home, and the whereabouts of both is unknown ever since.
Hunar’s father, Salah Shukur, told KirkukNow: “At 2 AM of the night of 2 October 2016, when Hunar was sleeping at the home of one of his friends in Kirkuk’s Wasit neighbourhood.
“From what we saw on footage from surveillance cameras of nearby houses, the entity that detained them were wearing the same attire and driving the same cars that Kirkuk’s Black Force use.”
the entity that detained them were wearing the same attire and driving the same cars that Kirkuk’s Black Force use
The ‘Black Force’ was an armed entity belonging to the PUK. They had a high degree of authority and were very active in Kirkuk before the forces of the Federal Government forced the Peshmerga, the armed forces of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), out of the disputed areas.
“Four cars filled with armed men were sent to arrest my son Hunar and his friend. I went to [PUK’s] Kirkuk headquarters and met with Aso Almani and Mr. Ghafour. They say that they have nothing to do with it.”
Aso Almani was the head of the PUK’s Kirkuk headquarters at the time of the kidnapping, and Mr. Ghafour, who is now a member of PUK’s Leadership Council, was his deputy.
“A few days after the detention of Hunar, I went to PUK’s headquarters in Kirkuk and saw his car there. I told Mr. Ghafour, ‘If my son is not here, what is his car doing here?’ But two hours later, his car disappeared from the headquarters, and they said they had sent it to Sulaimani Counter-Terrorism,” Salah said.
If my son is not here, what is his car doing here?
In their latest attempt, the family went to meet with the current head of PUK’s Kirkuk branch, but nothing came of that meeting either.
“We have filed a legal complaint and will not give up asking about our son’s case.”
According to his mother, Hunar had an armoured car which he had bought from the former mayor of Tuz Khurmatu.
Three months before his detention, a number of gunmen shot at Hunar and one of his cousins. His cousin was killed in that attack, and he had ended up with six bullet wounds.
“I have been to PUK’s Kirkuk headquarters 18 times. I recognized his car there. At the time he bought his car, he told me, ‘Mom, look! A bullet had hit its windscreen. This is bulletproof’ The one at the headquarters was the same car,” said Najiba Ahmad, Hunar’s mother.
A few days before the armed attack on Hunar and his cousin, a bomb was planted in front of his house.
“One of my sisters had come to visit us from Erbil that night. Two cars of ours and one of our visitors were parked in front of the house. At six in the morning, my son was about to go out and I stepped out with him. We saw a bomb inside a jerrycan that was placed between the cars. We notified the police, but only by noon they managed to detonate it.”
We saw a bomb inside a jerrycan that was placed between the cars
Before opening the café, Hunar had been a policeman serving the Kurdistan Regional Government but was sacked. KirkukNow was not able to find out the reason for his sacking.
KirkukNow repeatedly tried to take a statement from PUK’s Kirkuk headquarters for one week, but they were not willing to do so.
Hunar has a 14-year-old son and a 13-year-old daughter.
Kozheen, Hunar’s daughter, told KirkukNow: “If he is guilty, they should take him to court. It is not right to keep us apart for so long.”