Iraq: Barwana massacre – Botched investigation, families waiting for justice

Government-backed Shi’a militias and security forces killed at least 56 – possibly more than 70 – Sunni Muslims in Barwana, a village west of Muqdadiya, in Diyala province, in the afternoon of 26 January 2015. Fifty four witnesses – relatives and neighbours of 40 victims – told Amnesty International that members of militias and SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics, an elite force) and other government forces went to Barwana and called on the men to come out of their homes to have their IDs checked. After the ID check, the men were told to go back home and some of the forces left Barwana, but some 15 minutes later militia and forces’ members went house to house, told the men to bring their IDs, and led them away to different locations in the village. Shortly after, the villagers heard gunfire and screaming and after the perpetrators left, they found the bodies of their loved ones – shot dead, most of them handcuffed and some also blindfolded – in yards, fields, and other sites around the village.

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