IRAQ: Kurds revisit Anfal massacre


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The events of 1988 were once more alive in Chamchamal, an Iraqi city where Kurds were sent to internment camps during Saddam Hussein’s Anfal military campaign against the minority ethnic group.

On a spring day 22 years later, some Kurdish mothers waited for the return of 106 children whose bodies had recently been recovered, security officials said. It was a reminder of the scars from the Kurds’ struggles under Hussein’s regime.


Nabat Rahman, 49, thought of her dead son and daughter. “My 3-year-old child stayed alive just for 40 days [in the camp]. He couldn’t stand the sickness, while my daughter Sharoa died of hunger asking me to bring her a cucumber,” Rahman said. “Since then, I stopped eating [cucumbers], and when I see the cucumbers in the market I remember her.”

The Anfal campaign, in which as many as 180,000 people died or disappeared, resulted in the razing of villages, executions, and the forced displacement of civilians. The women from Chamchamal were taken to a camp in the Dubz region of northeastern Tamim province. There, they were separated from their sons and daughters, ranging in age from 3 to 10, according to survivors and officials.

One survivor said: “Many who were detained under Saddam cannot forget what happened. The camp was worse than a Nazi prison camp. They were spraying some chemicals, and the result was that the people became sick.’

-- Asso Ahmed in Sulaymaniya