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Two PUK cadres were arrested by KDP Asayish in Qasre: PUK official

2020-03-26

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SULAIMANI — A Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) committee official in Choman’s Qasre sub-district said on Thursday (March 26) that two of the party’s cadres were arrested by Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) Asayish without a court order.

Late on Wednesday night, head of the Kurdistan Youth Union’s Qasre center Shamall Mala and PUK Peshmerga Karokh Bakir were arrested, PUK committee official in Qasre Wrya Wasani told NRT.

He said it was unclear where they were being held.

“While the Kurdistan Region is in a sensitive situation and people are protecting themselves, the KDP forces are arresting our cadres,” Wasani said, referencing the local coronavirus outbreak that has infected more than 100 people.

“If they do not release those two cadres, then we will have a response,” he added.

Although technically partners in the current Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), the two parties have a heated, historic rivalry dating back decades. Both control significant sections of the security forces and it is common that they employ them for partisan purposes in violation of the rule of law.

In December 2018 and January 2019, the parties engaged in tit-for-tat arrests of party officials in Erbil, Sulaimani, and Garmian. Those incidents came during the fraught and lengthy government formation process in the Kurdistan Region, which was only resolved in May.

Another interparty spat, which involved PUK and KDP offices being shot at in Sulaimani and Erbil and the prevention of a senior PUK official from traveling to Erbil, likely derailed the process of forming a unified Kurdish list to contest the since-aborted Iraqi provincial elections.

Most recently, the KDP on March 20 accused a bodyguard of a former KRG finance minister of spying for a foreign power and links to a PUK-affiliated security forces unit led by PUK co-president Lahur Sheikh Jangi, which the PUK and the man's family denied.

(NRT Digital Media)