IRAQ: Conventional Weapons destroyed to support international trade
MAG has destroyed more than 430 deadly weapons that were threatening the lives of truck drivers and blocking development at one of the biggest trading points between Iraq and Turkey.
The items, which included unexploded shells, mortars and rockets, were removed by MAG Iraq’s Conventional Weapons Disposal teams from a trading complex in the border village of Kharabadar.
They had been preventing access to land that could be used for construction of offices and stores, as well as threatening the lives of goods transportation drivers from both countries.
"In coordination with local authorities in the area, and the local workers and owners in the Kharabadar trading complex, we were able to identify the location of most of the hazardous items in the area," said Vadar Mustafa, MAG Iraq's Community Liaison Coordinator in Dohuk.
"MAG's Community Liaison teams delivered risk education sessions to the villagers and trade workers in the area, to teach them about the risks posed by the weapons. We distributed different materials, such as booklets and leaflets, to the villagers and trade workers in support of our risk education activities.”
Wirya Mustafa, MAG Iraq's Field Operations Manager in Dohuk, added: “Our team is still deploying to Kharabadar and surrounding areas, to completely remove and destroy all the conventional weapons.”
The history of the contamination goes back to 1963 when the former Iraqi regime started evacuating the border villages. By 1974, residents had moved to Zakho city and other collective towns.
The area surrounding Kharabadar was categorised as restricted by the former Iraqi military, and villagers were prevented from accessing their land.
"Before the complex was set up, the land was generally used for farming and grazing animals,” local resident Dlovan told MAG. “But when the Iraqi military controlled this area they banned the villagers from going onto their land.”
After the uprising in 1991, things changed for the better. The trading complex was set up by the Kurdistan Regional Government close to the main highway that links Iraq and Turkey, and various companies started constructing offices, stores and trade markets.
|MAG's Conventional Weapons Disposal teams are funded by the Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement, US Department of State.|
|17 March 2011|