No less than 643 men and boys from Saqlawiya in the Anbar governorate in Iraq are still missing more than a year after they were abducted by Popular Mobilization Unit (PMU) militias. The abduction took place during military operations were attempting to retake
Fallujah and surrounding areas from the hostile armed group calling itself the Islamic State (IS). The families of the victims have lived in agony ever since, not knowing whether their loved ones are alive or dead.
How Did It Happen?
While thousands of men, women, and children were fleeing from the area of Saqlawiya on 3 June 2016, armed individuals carrying machine guns and assault rifles met them. According to testimonies gathered by witnesses and relatives of those forcibly disappeared, the kidnappers were identified as members of the PMU, based on emblems on their uniforms and flags.
They took the victims to buildings, garages and abandoned shops in the nearby area, stole their identity documents, phones, rings and other valuables. Later, armed men bound their hands behind their backs, and took them away.
Where Is The Iraqi Government?
The families stated that they still have not heard anything about the fate of their loved ones. They also added that representatives of Iraq’s central government had not approached them since last year regarding any steps taken to bring their family members back.