16 individual graves exhumed in Shingal

Nineveh June 2021- Individual graves for Ezidis buried by Daesh militants in Shingal exhumed by local police. Photo by directorate of Shingal police.

By Ammar Aziz in Nineveh

Local police in Shingal, the Ezidi predominant district, with support of the forensic medicine have exhumed graves for 16 people to be sent to Baghdad for DNA test.

Five graves were exhumed on May 13th close to Shingal Mount and 11 others were exhumed on June 7th all over Shingal, said Natiq Alo Ahmed, media officer of Shingal local police.

“The remnants of the corps were sent to Baghdad for further tests and investigations in order to determine their identities,” he added.

A professional team of police and forensic medicine of Nineveh exhumed the remnants, Alo said.

Shingal, located 120 km west of Mosul, center of Nineveh province, used to be home to over 100,000 adherents Ezidi ethno-religious minority and one of the disputed territories between Baghdad and Erbil. Ezidis also live in Shekhan, Bashiqa and other areas in Duhok Northern Province.

Seized in August 2014 by so-called Islamic State in Iraq and Syria ISIS militants whom accused the Ezidis of being “heretics,” Shingal has been the scene of tragedy: a genocidal campaign of killings, rape, abductions and enslavement, and the surviving community fled to safer-heaven IDP camps on Shingal Mount and in the adjacent northern Kurdistan region.

Out of half million population, over 350,000 Ezidis fled Shingal to Kurdistan region and Shingal Mount. About 100,000 migrated to Europe, USA, Canada and Australia and over 100,000 are still living under tents in tens of camps for Internally Displaced Persons IDP in the adjacent Kurdish region.

Thousands of men and boys were slaughtered at the hands of Daesh militants and about 2,800 Ezidi women and girls captured as sex slaves were brought to unknown destiny.  Tens of mass and individual graves were found for the Ezdi adherents slaughtered at the hands of the extremist of ISIS yet few of it has been exhumed up today.

“The IDs for the bodies are known as they have died because of famine, draught or heat and were buried by their families,” Ahmed said. The process of exhuming is ongoing and the corps to be buried in their hometowns once back from Baghdad.

They are entitled to be registered as martyrs by directorate of martyrs’ affairs (in Baghdad) so that their families receive a monthly salary and other financial and moral redress, Ahmed said.

Directorate of Ezidi affairs at Kurdistan Regional government’s KRG ministry of Awqaf says 2,293 Ezidis were killed by Daesh militants when they stormed Shingal and took over one third of Iraq territories in 2014.

The first exhumed mass grave of the Ezidis slaughtered by Daesh militants was in the village of Kocho, home for 2018 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and advocate for survivors of sexual violence Nadia Murad, an Ezidi survivor of genocide & human trafficking, and founder of Nadia’s Initiative. 20 mass graves were exhumed on March 15th 2019 in two stages in which 500 corps were exhumed up to the present.

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