Committee to investigate violence against protesters: PM Abdul-Mahdi

Iraq's Baghdad protest and the use of violence by the security forces. (File)

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SULAIMANI — The Prime Minister and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces Adil Abdul Mahdi on Monday (October 7) directed the formation of a committee headed by the director of military intelligence to immediately investigate the commanders, officers, and enlisted personnel who used excessive force and violence against protesters.

In a statement, the Prime Minister ordered the withdrawal of all army units from Sadr City, due to a number of reported incidents on Sunday night where excessive force was used.

They will be replaced with federal police.

The statement added that procedures have already begun to arrest officers and commanders alleged to have engaged in acts of excessive force, but offered no indication as to whether any arrest have already taken place.

Abdul Mahdi called on all security forces to abide strictly by the established rules of conduct in order to protect protesters and preserve civil order.

For its part, the Joint Operations Command confirmed the transfer of the commanders and officers who used excessive force, who it said will be investigated immediately.

The security forces used live bullets and tear gas against peaceful protesters almost from the beginning of the protests, initially firing into the air but then using direct fire against the crowds, bringing widespread condemnation.

Sniper fire has also been used against demonstrators, but responsibility has not been fully established, with suspicion falling both on the security forces and militias.

(NRT Digital Media)