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UN envoy condemns use of hunting rifles against Iraqi protesters



The top United Nations envoy to Iraq, on Monday, condemned the use of hunting rifles firing birdshot against peaceful protesters in Baghdad and urged the government to ensure they are not harmed.

Iraq faces an extraordinary domestic crisis as almost 500 people have died in months of protests demanding the ouster of what demonstrators see as a corrupt ruling elite and an end to foreign interference mainly by Iran and the U.S.

The United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq said it had received credible allegations of protesters being targeted with hunting rifles, stones and firebombs on the nights of Feb. 14 to Feb. 16, leading to no less than 50 injuries.

UNAMI said in a statement that no fewer than 150 people were injured in the Shi’ite Muslim holy city of Kerbala in January alone, due to similar tactics.

Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Iraq said that the continued pattern of the use of excessive force, with ambiguously identified armed groups and unclear loyalties, is a grave security concern that must be tackled urgently and decisively.

“Peaceful protesters should be protected at all times,’’ Hennis-Plasschaert said.

However, there was no immediate comment from Iraqi authorities.

On Saturday, Prime Minister-designate Mohammed Tawfiq Allawi said a new government would be formed in the coming week.

Allawi appealed to Iraqis for their support, hours after his appointment by President Barham Salih.

However, protesters have already rejected him as a stooge of the political elite.

Edited By: Abiodun Oluleye/Abdulfatah Babatunde

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Abiodun Oluleye: is a graduate and a professionally trained journalist, with experience in national news reporting/editing and verification at the News Agency of Nigeria. NNN is a Nigerian online news portal that publishes breaking news in Nigeria, and across the world. Our journalists are honest, fair, accurate, thorough and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting news in the best interest of the public, because truth is the cornerstone of journalism and they strive diligently to ascertain the truth in every news report. Contact: editor[at]

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April 2020