IS frees dozens of Yazidis in north Iraq

IS frees dozens of Yazidis in north Iraq

Some 234 men and women from the Iraqi Yazidi minority were freed after being kidnapped by militants of the Islamic State (IS) group which took control of their town a few months ago, the Kurdish regional government said on Monday, Xinhua reported.

"Some 234 members of Yazidi minority, including 150 females and many children, have been released after months in captivity by the IS militants," Nouri Othman Sinjari, spokesman for the Kurdistan Regional Government, told Xinhua by phone.

The release of the kidnapped Yazidis was a difficult and complicated task, as some were freed through mediation of tribal leaders and others by paying ransom to their abductors from the IS militants, Sinjari said without giving further details.

Since early August, hundreds of Yazidi minority members have been killed or kidnapped when IS militants seized the town of Sinjar, some 100 km west of Nineveh's provincial capital city of Mosul.

The militants also reportedly kidnapped up to 500 Yazidi women, taking them to bases in neighboring Syria and in the militants- seized city of Mosul, some 400 km north of the Iraqi capital of Baghdad.

The Yazidi minority is primarily Kurdish. The religion of the Yazidis incorporates elements of many faiths, as a result of some of their beliefs and the mystery surrounding their religion, many Muslims and non-Muslims have come to see Yazidis as "infidels." This has led to violent attacks by extremist Islamist groups against them.

There are about 600,000 Yazidis remaining in Iraq with roughly 80 percent of them living in the towns of Sinjar and Bashika in Nineveh province.

After the advance of the IS militants in northern Iraq, some 150,000 Yazidis, fearing the insurgents' atrocities, fled their homes and went to the nearby Sinjar mountain, where many were reportedly died of thirst and hunger.

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