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Kirkuk Arabs Demand to Know Fate of Loved Ones Jailed By Kurds
By Hussein al-Amir

Dozens of Sunni Arabs on Tuesday protested in the city of Kirkuk to demand the release of "hundreds" of people detained since 2003 by security forces affiliated with northern Iraq's Kurdish Regional Government (KRG), according to an Iraqi security source.

"Dozens of Sunni Arabs demonstrated today [Tuesday] outside the government headquarters in central Kirkuk," Police Captain Hamed al-Obaidi told Anadolu Agency.

Demonstrators, he said, "demanded to know the fate of friends and relatives detained by the Asayish [Kurdish regional security forces] since 2003".

According to al-Obaidi, demonstrators claimed that Kurdish regional security forces had carried out numerous arrest campaigns -- during which "hundreds" were arrested without trial or charge -- in Sunni Arab parts of the region.

In a statement issued earlier Tuesday, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi instructed the Iraqi authorities to launch an investigation into the alleged crackdowns.

Before Iraqi forces assumed control of Kirkuk last month, the oil-rich province had been under the firm control of the Asayish and Kurdish Peshmerga forces.

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