Two groups of Kurdish village guards in Turkey’s Kurdish-majority district of Pervari (Berwarî) clashed over land dispute. Two were killed, and at least four were severely injured.
The clashes reportedly began out of a dispute over possession of land between the village guards from the village of Gökbudak and those from the village of Kurşuncular.
The injured were taken to a hospital in the city of Siirt (Sêrt) by a military helicopter, while security measures were taken in and around the hospital.
The governor of Sêrt travelled to the area for investigation.
Kurdish village guards
Village guards were set up during the 1980s to assist Turkish troops in their operations agains the fighters of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
Village guards have been involved in serious human rights abuses, including forced disappearances, extrajudicial executions and torture, since the beginning of armed conflicts.
Turkish interior minister Süleyman Soylu had announced in November 2019 that there were over 54,000 village guards serving in Turkey.
The village guard system constitutes the modern implementation of the Ottoman Empire’s policy of creating a loyal local armed force in Kurdish majority provinces, which began with the establishment of ‘Hamidiye regiments’ during the reign of Sultan Abdul Hamid II in 1890,