A squad of Islamic State militants kidnapped five Iraqi citizens in the Kirkuk region last week, one of the men abducted was a Kakai religious leader. The men were taken near Zanqar village according to Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) official Jamal Shakur. He added that, “The name of one of the abductees is Farhad, the brother of Zaiya Agha, a prominent figure among the Kakais in the region,” but the other men were construction workers. The men have not been heard from since. Shakur blames the Islamic State resurgence on the Iraqi paramilitaries who are supposed to be securing the region. Since their take over, “ISIS has gone to the villages in this area multiple times,” and that, “bringing ISIS movements under control is not easy,” Shakur concluded.

When questioned on the security situation, the Iraqi Hashd al-Shaabi forces released a statement saying that their soldiers alongside Iraqi Federal Police forces repealed an assault by 20 Islamic State militants, “who targeted Qara Tapa village which is in the Dubis district in Kirkuk.” Two Hashd fighters were killed in the fighting and ten more were injured; they claimed to have killed several of the ISIS fighters during the exchange.

Some citizens are taking up arms to defend themselves since the government forces have become viewed as incompetent in accomplishing the task. A group of villagers in the area captured four ISIS militants and then handed them off to local security forces. One man from a neighboring village said,

Since the militants were taken by the villagers, we have prepared ourselves because we knew they would avenge them, so we have been standing on guard]. Our relatives and people reached out to us to help. They were with us during the nighttime and return during the daylight. When they attacked during the night, we were fully geared up.”

One of the captured Islamic State fighters has been claimed to be a commander in charge of the cells operating from Sharaban town to Sleman Beg. Retaliation has been attempted since the incident but the Iraqi Army has begun occupying the territory to compensate. The villagers involved with the capture were engaged in a firefight for over an hour when the event went down. Some of the residents attempted to enlist the help of a neighboring village but accidentally triggered an improvised explosive device (IED) that injured one village and killed another. Jabara town is composed of about 32 villages and are inhabited by an estimated 20,000 people.

Featured image courtesy of the author.