Two university staff killed by former law student in Erbil

Two university staff killed by former law student in Erbil
3 min read
28 June, 2022
A faculty dean and a lecturer at Salahaddin University in Erbil, the capital city of the Iraqi Kurdistan region, were shot dead by a former law student on Early Tuesday.
In the Iraqi Kurdistan region, where gun violence is rampant, guns can be purchased easily in the marketplace. [Getty]

The dean of the faculty of law and another lecturer at the Salahaddin University were shot dead early today by a former law student, the head of the university told The New Arab.

"Early today, a former student entered the college of law at our university and opened fire at the dean of the law faculty. Unfortunately, the dean scummed to his wounds. Then the shooter raided the house of another lecturer from the engineering college at our university and killed him," Kamaran Younis Mohammad, President of Salahuddin University, said to TNA during a brief phone call.

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) ministry of higher education and scientific research said in a statement after the incident that a student from the college of Law raided Salahaddin University with a gun, killing Kawan Esmael, the dean of the college of law and Edris Izzat Hama Khan, lecturer at the engineering college, and wounded another university employee.

Shortly after the incident, Erbil police announced the arrest of a suspect without further details.

"The reason behind the killing is that two years ago, the former student asked for his transfer from Soran University into Salahaddin University. His transfer plea was first accepted to Salahaddin University, but then it was annulled because he had issues with Soran University and the latter university did not accept him either," Mohammad elaborated. "The issue has been raised to the KRG ministry of higher education and remained unsolved."

Answering how a former student was able to bring a gun inside the university's premises, Mohammad said that they have nearly 25,000 students on campus and the university is unable to inspect every student at the university’s entrances.

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According to Rudaw English, the former student, named Aras Mahdi Qassim, had quarrelled with Nishtiman Osman, a law lecturer from Soran University and wife of the late Hama Khan. Osman had filed a lawsuit against the student and was in the Soran administration to attend the first court session today.

TNA contacted Erbil's governor Omed Khoshnaw and Hogr Aziz, spokesperson of Erbil police, but neither were available to comment.

The KRG Prime Minister Masrour Barzani in a tweet said that "Unlicensed guns must be eradicated in the Kurdistan region and the criminals, on whatever ranks and posts, should be brought into justice."

Several local outlets have claimed that the perpetrator is the son of a crucial military commander in the Barzan Army which is affiliated with the ruling Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP). Barzan Army, however, dismissed the claims in a statement.

In the Iraqi Kurdistan region, gun violence is rampant,  and guns are easily purchased in the marketplace. The region has a weak justice system in front of the hegemony of the two main ruling parties, the KDP and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK).