Kurdistan willing to expedite force to protect Kurds in Diyala
24/02/2012 12:14 ERBIL, Feb.24 (AKnews)- It is time for the Iraq Kurdistan region to send more peshmarga (Kurdistan border guards) to Jalawla district of Diyala province in order to protect its Kurdish population, deputy for Kurdistan interior minister said.
Anwar Othman said though the Ministry has not decided over the idea yet "but its steps have always been taken in line with the high interests of the Kurdish nation and according to the decisions of Kurdistan leadership."
Yesterday morning three people were killed and at least 21 others were wounded after nine bombs exploded in the multi-ethnic Jalawla district in Diyala.
"I think it is time to send more peshmarga forces to protect the Kurds in Jalawla so that they are protected without discrimination," he added while he stressed the force expedition will be to "prevent further mishaps and threats that the people in the area have been suffering from for long."
According to an agreement between the Iraqi and the Kurdistan regional governments, a joint force of the Iraqi army and peshmarga should secure the areas whose tenure is still disputed by the two governments. These include Kirkuk provinces and areas in Nineveh, Salahaddin and Diyala provinces. All the provinces were struck by successive bombings yesterday.
Kurdistan deputy interior minister, however, believes the presence of peshmarga is "limited" and not "according to our demand."
Yesterday in response to targeting Kurdish neighborhoods in Jalawla, Fayeq Tofiq, the other deputy for Kurdistan interior minister, said "We as the Ministry of Interior can't directly interfere in the security affairs of these areas… We're not authorized to do so."
"So far the Iraqi government has not allowed, and will not allow, for us to have authority in these [disputed] area, despite that we observe the targeting of Kurds by the terrorist groups as the events today," he added.
Aref Rafaat, Jalawla-based chief of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (led by Kurdistan President Massoud Barzani) said that 10 days before launching attacks the supporters of the fallen Baath party warned the Kurdish neighborhoods that they will be attacked.
Yesterday after the bombings which began at 3.30 local time, an eyewitness complained that the Iraqi security forces did not come to help the victims even hours after the explosions.