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UN Iraq envoy condemns targeting of Iraqi protestors with ‘hunting guns’

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The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq, Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, on Monday, condemned the targeting of “peaceful” Iraqi protestors with hunting guns.

In a press statement, UNAMI said it received credible reports that peaceful protestors were targeted with hunting guns on the road between Al Tahrir Square and Al Khilani Square in Baghdad between Feb. 14 to16injuring at least 50.

UNAMI added that many security personnel were also injured, including by pellets from hunting guns, stones, or Molotov cocktails.

In Iraq’s southern city of Karbala, UNAMI said over 150 protestors were injured in the month of January due to the use of “similar kinetic impact projectiles.”

In the statement, Hennis-Plasschaert strongly condemned the “hunting rifles with birdshot, which caused (yet again) high numbers of casualties in recent protests.”

She also called on the authorities to prevent the use of force and to hold those responsible for the abuse of force.

“The continued pattern of the use of excessive force, with ambiguously identified armed groups and unclear loyalties, is a grave security concern that must be tackled urgently and decisively. Peaceful protesters should be protected at all times,” she was quoted as saying in the UNAMI press release.
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