Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi called on Thursday for an investigation to uncover the fate of Arab and Turkmen detainees in Kirkuk, held by the Asayish, Kurdish security agency operating under the umbrella of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan party.
The families of detained citizens held a massive demonstration on Tuesday outside the government headquarters in central Kirkuk, calling for the unconditional release of their loved ones.
Demonstrators demanded to know the fate of friends and relatives detained by the Asayish since 2003.
Some protesters speak of arrests by the Asayish for their children 10 years ago and said that they have not yet known their fate.
Burhan al-Assi, a member of the Arab bloc inside the province's council, told Asharq Al-Awsat that after the Asayish left Kirkuk in October, people found lists of missing Arab and Turkmen detainees in a tunnel in the Azadi hospital district of Kirkuk, which aroused their resentment. "
"People came out to demonstrate because they heard about the return of Asayish forces back to Kirkuk,” Assi said.
Assi held the Union forces responsible for what happened in Kirkuk because they gave up their role, withdrew from the province and handed it over years ago to the Asayish forces, which are affiliated with two Kurdish parties, the Patriotic Union and the Democratic party.
For his part, Head of the Security Committee in the Provincial Council in Kirkuk Azad Jabari denied the demonstrations.
He told Asharq Al-Awsat: "They were supposed to demonstrate when the US forces where in the country because they are responsible for the disappearance of their children."
Jabari stressed that most of those disappeared went missing since the period when the US forces were present, between 2003 and 2004, and Asayish forces have nothing to do with it.
Jabari, a member of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan party, expressed regret for the accusations against the Kurdish Peshmerga and Asayish these days.
He said, “We expected the Iraqi government to thank the Kurdish forces for protecting Kirkuk from terrorist groups, not to accuse it of abducting citizens”.