Iraq fires governor over ferry capsize - GulfToday

Iraq fires governor over ferry capsize


Iraqi crew lift a ferry which sank in the Tigris River with a crane in Mosul on Sunday. Reuters

BAGHDAD: Iraq’s parliament on Sunday sacked the governor of a northern province where 100 people died in a ferry disaster that sparked a wave of grief and anger.

Most of those killed when the boat sank on Thursday in the Tigris River in Mosul were women and children headed for a Mother’s Day picnic on the Kurds’ Nowruz New Year holiday.

Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mehdi wrote to parliament on Saturday calling on legislators to fire Nineveh provincial governor Nawfel Akoub, citing “negligence and concrete failings” meriting his dismissal.

His two deputies were also fired during a vote in the national assembly.

Parliament declared those killed in the tragedy “martyrs,” allowing their families to receive financial compensation and paving the way for court proceedings.

Sixteen people have been arrested as part of an investigation into the ferry capsize, a security official said.

Authorities say 63 people are still listed as missing.

Scores of protesters swarmed Iraq’s president and the governor on Friday, forcing them to leave the site of the accident.

The crowd threw stones and shoes at the governor’s car, which sped off hitting two people, one of whom was taken to hospital.

Dozens of students held a silent protest on Sunday on the campus of the university of Mosul, dressed in black to mourn the victims.

One of them, Abdullah Al Jubburi, said they were demonstrating to demand that “corrupt” politicians and civil servants be replaced.

“The governor and all corrupt officials must be put on trial. We are fed up of being mistreated and marginalised,” said fellow protester Isra Mohammed.

Akoub has already been subjected to the anger of victims’ relatives and their supporters over alleged corruption and cronyism.

When he visited the scene of the tragedy on Friday stones were thrown at his convoy by protesters demonstrating against perceived corruption and neglect.

Separately, three suspected Daesh militant group suicide bombers blew themselves up on Sunday in northern Iraq, the army said, a day after the militants’ area was wiped out in neighbouring Syria.

Army spokesman Yahya Rassoul said the incident took place in a region near the Syrian border, where militant sleeper cells are believed to be present.


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