12/06/2012 15:43 KIRKUK, June 12 (AKnews)- A population census in central Kirkuk is running and the initial outcomes show that 400 families of Arab settlers who received compensation have not returned to their homes in other Iraqi provinces.
The headmen for each neighborhood are conducting the census which will run until July 1, said Kirkuk Mayor Kamil Salayee.
Salayee said the items on the form which the 127 headmen distribute are intended to distinguish the aboriginal residents of the city from the settlers and illegal refugees.
He added the form includes information on the family and its members but it avoids questions as ethnicity or religion "due to the sensitive situation in Kirkuk."
The ownership of the multiethnic oil rich Kirkuk is disputed mainly by Kurdish government and Baghdad. Article 140 of the Iraqi constitution, which was due to be fully implemented by end of 2007, is set to end the dispute.
The article, which many regard as annulled, sets forth a three stage process for indicating the owner of the province as well as some other multiethnic areas in Nineveh, Salahaddin and Diyala provinces.
The first stage is normalization, whereby the Arab settlers will be paid compensation to return to their homes in southern and Iraqi provinces and expelled Kurds to Kirkuk after receiving the damages. The second phase is conducting a population census and the third a public referendum on whether the population prefers to be ruled by Baghdad or Erbil.
Unofficial figures set the population in central Kirkuk at 1,400,000.
Kirkuk mayor said that so far it has become clear that 400 Arab families who have already been allotted the compensation have not left Kirkuk.
These families were brought to Kirkuk during the Arabization process, in order to change the demography of the province.
The families will face court, Salayi said.
The official added the current figures also show that more than 1,000 families have settled in Kirkuk illegally.
They also will face investigation, according to Salayee.