Governor: Tikrit under control of govt forces, tribes

Shiite militias left Tikrit on Saturday on the order of Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi

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Iraqi government forces and local tribes took control of Tikrit on Saturday after pro-government Shiite paramilitaries looted the city, the governor of Saladin province told Al Arabiya News Channel.

Governor Raed al-Jabouri on Friday declared the situation in Tikrit out of control as Shiite militias, who aided government forces in retaking the city from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), raided and looted civilian shops and homes.

Shiite militias left Tikrit on Saturday on the order of Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi. Security forces arrested several people linked to the looting and other acts of vandalism, Jabouri said.

Residents who had fled Tikrit and returned on Saturday accused militias of burning and vandalizing shops and houses, and called on Abadi to put an end to these violations.

While these militias have played a major role in successful operations against ISIS, they have also been accused of abuses including summary executions and kidnappings.

Human Rights Watch this month said both security forces and militias “engaged in deliberate destruction of civilian property” after breaking a months-long siege of the town of Amerli last year.

U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon said during a visit to Baghdad last week that Iraq must “bring volunteer armed groups fighting in support of the government under government control.”

He added: “Civilians freed from the brutality of [ISIS] should not have to then fear their liberators.”