Arabs and Turkmen in Iraq demand UN envoy's resignation

Other News Materials 25 August 2008 20:08 (UTC +04:00)

Arabs and Turkmen from Iraq's disputed multi-ethnic northern Kirkuk province on Monday demanded the resignation of the United Nations special representative to Iraq Staffan de Mistura, saying he was biased against them, dpa reported.

On Sunday, a UN delegation that visited Kirkuk met with Kurds and Turkmen, snubbing Arabs and arousing Arab anger. Kirkuk Arabs accused de Mistura of discriminating against them.

"Arabs cooperate with their brothers the Turkmen demanding de Mastura's resignation, especially after the UN visit. They also call his recommendations for Kirkuk dangerous," Ahmed Hamid al-Abeidi, Arab official in Kirkuk's coucil told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa.

Kirkuk province is home to Arabs, Kurds and Turkmen. Lawmakers last month failed to agree on the adoption of a provincial election law affecting the oil-rich province.

Kurds, claiming a majority of the population, currently hold more than half the seats in the Kirkuk council. Arabs are meanwhile against the integration of Kirkuk into the autonomous Kurdistan region.

Also in Kirkuk on Monday, Iraqi police detained five gunmen and confiscated weapons and bombs they were hiding, police said.

The gunmen are believed to be members of an umbrella organization known as Islamic State of Iraq and representing a number of Iraqi insurgent groups, Ikram Abdallah, a police official in Kirkuk told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa.

Kirkuk is 250 kilometers north of Baghdad.

In an earlier, unknown gunmen killed a university professor west Baghdad. Police found Professor Khaldoun Sabry's body in the capital's Yarmouk district. He was handcuffed and had gunshot wounds and bruises all over his body, police officials told dpa.

Killings and abductions of university professors and students have escalated in the last couple of months.

Meanwhile, an Iraqi soldier was injured when an explosion hit an army patrol in west Baghdad's Mansour district, witnesses told dpa.

Separately, a 13-year-old would-be suicide bomber still wearing an explosives vest turned herself over to police on Sunday, the same day that 25 people were killed in another suicide bombing, the US military said Monday.

The military said the girl let herself be escorted away by police in the city of Baquba, north-east of the capital Baghdad, and that she then led the officers to another explosive vest.

Baquba is capital of the restive Diyala province, where the US army has set up a separate female anti-terrorism unit in the battle to try to thwart suicide bomb attacks by women.

Meanwhile the death toll in Sunday's suicide bombing west of Baghdad had risen to 25, Arab media reports said Monday.

In addition, 30 people were wounded when the attacker detonated his explosives vest during a banquet thrown by a family celebrating a relative's release from prison, a police source who spoke on condition of anonymity told Voices of Iraq (VOI) news agency.

The attack took place in the Abu Ghraib district, 30 kilometres west of Baghdad.