Kurdish referendum: Iraqi police deploy after Kirkuk ethnic clashes

Kurdish referendum: Iraqi police deploy after Kirkuk ethnic clashes
1 min read
19 September, 2017
Gunmen on motorcycles began to shoot one of the offices Monday night. The guards returned fire, killing one and wounding two of the assailants
Kurdistan flag raised in Kirkuk [Getty]

Police were deployed overnight on Monday after clashes erupted in Kirkuk ahead of the Kurdish independence referendum.

A Turkmen official reported that authorities in Iraq’s ethnically-mixed city of Kirkuk have imposed a nighttime curfew after clashes erupted between Kurds and Turkmen.

Mohammed Samaan Kanaan, in charge of Iraqi Turkmen Front offices, said on Tuesday that gunmen on motorcycles began to shoot one of the offices Monday night.

The guards returned fire, killing one and wounding two of the assailants.

Kanaan says hours later, a police patrol that included the brother of the slain assailant attacked another office, triggering clashes. The fighting ended when a large ethnically mixed force reached the scene.

Iraq’s Kurds plan to hold the referendum next Monday in their self-ruled region as well as disputed areas, including the oil-rich province of Kirkuk.

Iraqi Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani and representatives of the region's political parties declared the historic referendum in June.

Since the announcement, Baghdad, and Western and regional powers, including Turkey and Iran, have expressed opposition to the vote but Iraqi Kurdish officials have insisted the referendum will go ahead as planned.