GENEVA, (Reuters) – Hundreds of people were killed, many of them summarily executed, after Sunni Islamist militants overran the Iraqi city of Mosul this week, U.N. human rights spokesman Rupert Colville said today.
Iraqi government forces had stopped people at checkpoints and prevented them fleeing Mosul as ISIL militants took it over, he said. Now ISIL was using its own checkpoints to hunt down anyone associated with the Iraqi government.
“The full extent of civilian casualties is not yet known but reports received by UNAMI, the U.N. mission in Iraq, to this point suggest that the number of people killed in recent days may run into the hundreds and the number of wounded is said to be approaching 1,000,” he told a news briefing in Geneva.
UNAMI has its own network of contacts and had interviewed some of the 500,000 who fled Mosul, he said. A further 40,000 people were estimated to have fled from Tikrit and Samara, according to the International Organization for Migration.
“We’ve received reports of the summary execution of Iraqi army soldiers during the capture of Mosul and of 17 civilians in one particular street in Mosul city on June 11,” Colville said.
“There was also the execution of a court employee in the Dawasa area in central Mosul and the execution of 12 people in Dawasa who were believed to have been serving with the Iraq security services or possibly with members of the police.”
The “great majority” of the militants were Iraqis, Colville said, citing UNAMI reports.
Prisoners released by the militants from Mosul prison had been looking to exact revenge on those responsible for their incarceration and some went to Tikrit and killed seven former prison officers there, Colville said.
“We’ve also had reports suggesting that government forces have also committed excesses, in particular the shelling of civilian areas on 6 and 8 June in Mosul, resulting in a large number of civilian casualties,” he said.
“There are claims that up to 30 civilians may have been killed during this shelling,” he said.
“We also received reports that government forces were at one point not allowing people to leave from Mosul as they tried to do so and people were actually being turned back from checkpoints on the outskirts of the city.”