Mullah Karim's case: His bodyguard is in prison,

Kurdish lawmaker accused attackers “assassins,” seeks tribal reconciliation

A photo of Karim Shukur (Mulla Karim), PUK leader and Iraqi lawmaker, and the background is a video clip of the accident

By Laila Ahmed

There are attempts to solve the case of the deputy in the Iraqi parliament and member of the leadership council of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan PUK, Karim Shukur Mulla Karim, by concluding a civil arrangement that satisfies both sides (tribal reconciliation), at a time Mulla Karim and the PUK described the incident as an "assassination attempt."

The family of the young man had the fighting with PUK leader inside its office in Tuz Khurmatu district of Salahadin province, deny any arrangements and insist on sorting out the case at court per civil law.

On August 10, two young men delivered a letter to (Mulla Karim) inside the headquarters of the Puk’s Organizations Center in Tuz Khurmatu district, while he was about to leave the building, and after he read the letter, he tore it up and then headed towards the two young men.

Meanwhile, a man in military uniform, looks to be one of Mulla Karim's bodyguards, appeared punching one of the two youths in a video clip that circulated the next day on social media.

There was a kind of confusion, and Karim Shukur quickly returned to the office, while the person who punched the young man raised a gun in the face of the young man, but at the beginning of the video it is not clear whether the young man pulled the trigger of a gun or not.

In another part of the video clip, when the two young men return to their vehicle - the clip recorded by PUK office CCTV - one of the two young men appears carrying a pistol and raises it in the face of the security personnel, at that time he is hit by a bullet and falls to the ground, before he gets up and returns with the other young man to the vehicle and then they leave the place.

The young man was shot in the chest and was immediately taken to Tuz Khurmatu Hospital and then to Kirkuk.

Muhammad Ali Hussein, the father of the injured youth, told KirkukNow, "My son was seriously injured, his health condition is unstable. We have filed a lawsuit. He was shot by five guards of Mulla Karim and PUK Center."

The message that was in the hands of the two young men was an invitation card for Karim to attend the opening ceremony of the office of a Turkmen deputy in parliament in the Kurdish-majority Komari nieghborhood of Tuz Khurmatu.

Muhammad Ali Hussein, who is currently supervising the office, says that the deputy who opened the office distributed 30 to 40 weapons to them to protect themselves.

"When my son handed the invitation card to Mullah Karim, he said while tearing it up, you are traitors and mercenaries."

A video clip of August 10 incident circulated on social media

The family of the two young men, especially Muhammad Ali Hussein,the father of the injured young man, was previously close to Karim Shukur and promoted him in the campaign for the 2021 parliamentary elections, and he was one of the cadres of the Hamrin Organizations Center for PUK, but after problems arose between him and the and Karim, he decided to approach the Turkmen representative.

"They want us to solve the problem through tribal reconciliation, but we refused that. We are not ready for that in any way. We want the law to prevail and to obtain our right by law," Muhammad Ali explained.

"I have no problem with the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, the problem is between between Mulla Karim and me, and the reason is his denial and ingratitude of the votes that we collected for him (in October 2021 General Elections).”

About the incident, for which a police investigation file was opened, he said, "My son was carrying a gun, but he did not fire, and taking out the gun was to protect himself."

The quest for a clan reconciliation comes at a time when a brief statement by Mullah Shukur 's media office stated about the incident, "We assure our dear citizens that Mullah Karim has survived the attempt on his life inside the Hamrin Organizations Center."

While the official media of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan described the incident as an assassination attempt targeted Karim Shukur.

(KirkukNow) contacted Karim by phone several times for comments, but he did not answer any of the calls.

The multi-ethnic district of Duz Khurmatu, located 70 kilometers south of Kirkuk and part of Salahaddin province, is the only disputed town of the province and one of the disputed territories between Erbil and Baghdad, home to 150,000 Turkmens, Kurds and Arabs.

The predominantly Sunni province of Salahaddin, about 135 kilometers north of the Iraqi capital, once home for Saddam Hussein, is under the control of Iraqi Security Forces ISF including the Shia-led paramilitary forces known as al-Hashid al-Shabi, the Popular Mobilization Forces PMF.

Following the toppling of Saddam Hussein in 2003, the Kurdish political parties, in particular the Puk had an upper hand in the area up to October 16, 2017 when the Iraqi security Forces ISF with support of PMF took control of Tuz and the rest of the disputed territories which extends from Khanaqin, east of Baghdad on the borders with Iran up to Shingal (Sinjar) in Nineveh Province, in the far west on the borders with Syria.


A detachment of the Rapid Response Forces in the center of Tuz Khurmatu district, Salah al-Din, 2018. Media of the Rapid Response Forces.

Currently, one of Karim Shukur 's bodyguards, Amanj Najat, who is married and has two children, is in prison on charges of shooting and wounding the young man.

Aso Muhammad, Amanj's uncle, said his nephew was appointed as one of Mullah Karim's bodyguards seven years ago, and that his case had been referred to the police.

"A few days ago, a number of notables and heads of clans in the region tried to solve the problem and reach an agreement through clan reconciliation, but they refused," Muhammad said.

"We handed our son over to the police. We are waiting for the case to be resolved through the law. There is a fact that they were the ones who raided the organizations center. They wanted to break PUK dignity and opened fire inside our headquarters, so we opened fire in self-defense and that young man was wounded."

Muhammad is one of the eyewitnesses of the incident.

"If this family had a problem with Karim Shukur, why did they send him an invitation card? Why did they not hand it over to the Puk’s office reception and instead, they wait for Mulla Karim to come out and hand it over personally to him?"

Regarding the video clips that were published, Aso said, "There is a hidden hand in the matter," without elaborating further, saying only, "We also have a video clip showing the young man firing four shots towards the building of the PUK."

"Besides, that man was not wounded for sure by my nephew as our son defended the headquarters and the PUK."

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