The mayor of the predominately Yazidi town of Sinjar (Shingal) in northwest Iraq says dozens of the Kurdish Yazidi girls who were kidnapped by Islamic State (IS) militants in August 2014, have been relocated to other countries, including Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya and Chechnya, as war booty.
Mihemma Xelil told Rudaw their intelligence was based on several interviews conducted with rescued Yazidi women who had been released after ransoms had been paid to IS through mediators.
“At this moment we do not know how these girls were moved outside of Iraq or Syria but we believe they could have smuggled them out of the countries overland,” Xelil said adding that security personnel were yet to investigate the cases.
Many of the women were initially moved to nearby cities of Mosul and Tel Afar but they were soon taken to the groups more secure territories in Syria the mayor said.
“Many of the abducted women still have access to their cellphones and speak to their families and ask for ransoms to be paid for their release,” Xelil added.
According to a government office, which was set up to help locate and bring back the abducted Yazidis, of the 6,255 people who were kidnapped 3,878 are still in IS captivity with nearly 1800 of them being women and children.
“We have paid the ransom for many of the rescued victims, especially in cases where we knew for sure that they would be released for ransom,” said Hussein Koro who manages the office on behalf of Iraq’s Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).
“But in many cases, when we could not verify a source and therefore decided not to pay the ransom, the relatives of the victim paid it themselves and many times it turned out to be false sources who were after the ransom money,” Koro told Rudaw.
The size of the ransom varies and depends on whether the victim is male or female and where they are held captive Koro added.
Rudaw spoke with Xudeda Misto, a 75-year-old Yazidi from Shingal whose entire family including his wife, three daughters and his son were abducted by the militants in August 2014 and has not seen them since.
“They have asked for $15,000 for my eldest daughter who is now in Syria, but I have only $5000 and could not make the rest.” Misto said. He had obtained information about where his daughter was held through a Muslim friend in Shingal.
Islamic State group (IS) has extended its control on most parts of Sinjar district in northwest Iraq on August 3, 2014 which led thousands of Kurdish families to flee to Mount Sinjar, where they were trapped in it and suffered from significant lack of water and food, killing and abduction of thousands of Yazidis as well as rape and captivity of thousands of women.
According to Human Rights organizations, thousands of Yazidi Kurdish women and girls have been forced to marry or been sold into sexual slavery by the IS jihadists.
Kurdish officials say thousands of Yazidi girls still in Islamic State captivity.
The United Nations in November 2015 described the attack on the Yazidis as a possible genocide.
The Yazidi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State on Nov. 13, 2015 by Kurdish coalition forces.
U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said on Dec 29, 2015 she now believes the Islamic State group’s persecution of the Kurdish Yazidi minority and other religious and ethnic minorities in the Middle East should be defined as “genocide.”
EU parliament recognizes Islamic State killing of Yazidi Kurds asgenocide on Feb. 4, 2016.