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Iraqis protest over 'Speicher massacre'

The Iraqi Ministry of Human Rights said the number of those murdered at Tikrit camp was 2,398.

09.03.2015
Iraqis protest over 'Speicher massacre'

BAGHDAD 

Tens of Iraqis protested Monday the murder of at least 1,700 people -- mostly unarmed Iraqi air force cadets -- allegedly by Daesh militants on Camp Speicher in Tikrit in June 2014, decrying the "failure" of the Iraqi government to bring the perpetrators to account.

Daesh is the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, also known as ISIL.

The demonstrators rallied at Baghdad's al-Tahrir Square and carried banners slamming the central government and the militant group.

Relatives of the victims shouted slogans such as "Don't Forget Speicher," and "Where are our sons?", accusing former prime minister Nouri al-Maliki of failing to fulfill his promise to bring the perpetrators to account.

"We hold this demonstration to learn the whereabouts of our sons. We demand the delivery of our sons, alive or dead," said Sheik Abdulsaleeh Fayyad, father of a slain officer.

The demonstrators called on the Iraqi parliament to recognize the murders as a massacre instead of a "terrorist act." 

"We were asking for the Speicher incident to be named 'mass murder,'" Nassir Jawat, one of the demonstrators, said.

Another demonstrator, Sheikh Sabah Agaili, said his son did not even know how to use a gun, but joined the army to defend his homeland. "Today, my son's whereabouts remain unknown," Agaili said. 

The demonstrators silently dispersed after the protest to call for a statement from government officials.

On June 12, 2014, Daesh seized Tikrit and posted a video purporting to show the mass killing of hundreds of security officers and military students. The officers were alleged to be affiliated to the Speicher base. 

The Iraqi Ministry of Human Rights said the number of those murdered was 2,398. 

Iraq has plunged into a security vacuum since June 2014, when Daesh stormed the northern Iraqi province of Mosul and declared what it calls a caliphate in Iraq and Syria.

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