The remains of 100 victims of former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein’s genocidal anti-Kurdish campaigns have been given a proper burial in Iraqi Kurdistan after they were discovered in a mass grave last week, Nerina Azad reported.
The skeletal remains belonged to men and boys of the Barzan region, in the southern Kurdistan region. In the early 1980s, many members of the Barzani tribe were interned in resettlement camps after Hussein accused them of siding with Iran in the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war.
On July 31, 1983, Hussein’s regime abducted between 5,000 and 8,000 Barzani males aged between 10 and 85 from the camps. Their families were told they would be working as labourers for a day before returning home. But they would not be seen alive again.
In July 2022, the bones of 100 men and boys abducted that day were discovered in the Muthanna governorate after a two-week search. The victims had been killed by gunfire and buried in a mass grave, Nerina Azad said.
The mass kidnapping of Barzanis went unnoticed by the outside world at the time, but the men’s capture and subsequent execution became a blueprint for Saddam’s genocidal Anfal campaign several years later.
More than 200,000 Kurds were killed by chemical weapons and some 4,500 villages were demolished in the Anfal Genocide between 1986 and 1989 in the Kurdistan region of Iraq. Many families are still searching for the remains of their missing loved ones more than three decades later.
The ethnic cleansing campaign displaced more than one million people, and all but wiped out the infrastructure of the Kurdish region. The Iraqi army shelled villages with mortars and cluster bombs and used chemical gasses to kill Kurds.