By Sami Waheed Karim.
Anti-Media Extremism: Team of Assassins Targets Journalists in Mosul
Extremists are targeting journalists in the troubled state of Ninawa. After killing the governor’s spokesperson and two TV reporters they distributed fliers saying that any journalist who turned up for work risked death. Locals say a special team of assassins is at work and that security forces know who they are but won’t stop them.
It seemed a simple assignment for the reporter and camera man from Iraqi satellite station, Al Sharqiya: they would go down to the crowded markets in central Mosul and film the shoppers in action before the upcoming Eid Al-Adha holiday. But while Mohammed Ghanem and Mohammed Karim were in the Sarjakhana neighbourhood, they were gunned down by a group of men armed with pistols with silencers. Their attackers appeared suddenly, let off a hail of bullets and then disappeared into the crowded streets.
A witness, a woman in her 50s, complained about how local police had reacted to the scene. She said she saw one of the victims moving his hand and saying something but police only stood and watched, she recalled, “as the young man’s blood ran out of him”.
“The state of Ninawa – with Mosul – as its centre is witnessing a collapse in security,” says a local police officer who only wanted to be known as A. Mohammed. There are an estimated 50,000 military and security staff deployed throughout the province and there are checkpoints in all Mosul’s major streets.
“But we’re not able to protect ourselves,” the officer explained. “how are we supposed to protect the public?”
About 3,500 of those security staff quit their jobs over the past few days, MP Faris al-Sanjari, a member of the Sunni Muslim-dominated Iraqiya bloc, the major opposition in Iraq’s federal parliament, told NIQASH. “They left their jobs after they received threats from militants and because they’ve seen dozes of their colleagues killed and the homes of other colleagues bombed.”