UN concerned by reports of forced displacement of Kurds in N.Iraq

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The United Nations expressed concern on Thursday at reports by Kurdish officials that civilians, mainly Kurds, were being forcibly displaced in northern Iraq and their houses and businesses looted and destroyed.

“The United Nations urges the Government of Iraq to take every action to halt any violations and ensure that all civilians are protected and that the perpetrators of acts of violence, intimidation and forced displacement of civilians be brought to justice,” the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq said in a statement.

Most of the violations are reported in Tuz Khurmato, a town populated mainly by Kurds and Shi’ite Turkmen, and in Kirkuk, an oil-rich multi-ethnic city taken on Monday from Kurdish forces by Iraqi troops.

Both are disputed territories claimed both by the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Regional Governemnt (KRG) and the central Iraqi government.

About 100,000 Kurds have fled Kirkuk for fear of sectarian reprisals since Iraqi government forces took over the city after a Kurdish independence referendum condemned by Baghdad, regional Kurdish officials said on Thursday.

Kirkuk residents said on Wednesday that offices belonging to Turkmen parties who supported the Kurdish referendum were attacked in Kirkuk.

The UN said it had received allegations that 150 houses had been burned and 11 blown up in Tuz Khurmatu and offices of Turkmen politial parties in Kirkuk attacked.

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