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Security deteriorates in Iraqi city of Basra

Iraqi security forces decided to disarm Basra's clans following repeated inter-communal violent clashes [AFP]

Date of publication: 7 January, 2016

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Iraqi authorities have decided to disarm six clans involved in violent clashes and crimes in Basra province, the latest of which claimed the lives of two people.
Clashes between two clans in Basra on Thursday resulted in human casualties as the security in the southern Iraqi province continues to deteriorate.

Iraqi authorities deployed security reinforcements to Basra and the crisis cell in the province decided to disarm six clans who were involved in previous confrontations.

Two people were killed and six were injured in clashes in Basra's Al-Hussein district, according to a local police source.

The source told The New Arab the Iraqi army and federal police sent reinforcements to the conflict area to stop the violent confrontations in which mortar rounds and rocket-propelled grenades were used.

Basra police asked its forces to arrest all armed people who belong to the two feuding tribes.

Kidnapping, murder, and theft have been on the rise in Basra lately, prompting lawmakers to ask the government to declare a state of emergency, warning that the state could lose control of the province if it does not act swiftly.

Abdulsalam Maliki, one of Basra's representatives in the Iraqi parliament, said late in December that Basra's security is deteriorating significantly and is suffering from "known and unknown conflicts," where opponents have been bumping off each other.
Most exports including oil leave from Basra, which is home to all of Iraq's ports

Maliki said that this created some sort of chaos, particularly after more than 40 people were killed and many kidnapped in separate incidents.
   
    A picture taken on October 10, 2015 shows cargo ships
docked at the Iraqi port of Umm Qasr near Basra [AFP]

The southern province is vital to Iraq's economy. It contains some of the country's largest oil fields and most exports, including oil, leave from Basra, which is home to all of Iraq's ports.

As part of the security campaign in some of Basra's districts, the Iraqi army said that they had confiscated some light to medium weapons, pointing out that it would isolate any clan that would repeatedly cause trouble.

Basra governor Majid al-Nasrawi said on Thursday that the province's crisis cell has decided to take weapons away from six clans who have been causing trouble in the region, and distribute their arms to the Popular Mobilisation militia, under the supervision of the security forces.

Nasrawi said that 1257 people suspected of committing different crimes in the province were arrested last month, pointing out that illegal weapons have been confiscated, including PKC machine guns.

Basra is the second largest city - after the capital Baghdad - where more than 1.5 million people live.

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