European Union External Action

Head of Mission visits Iraq’s devastated Mosul

05/07/2019 - 12:28
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On 2 July EUAM Iraq Head of Mission Dr. Markus Ritter visited Mosul, known as the second largest city in Iraq. During his visit he met with the Governor of Ninewa Province Mansour al-Mar’eed and the Chief of Police Major General Hamed Namis. In June 2014 the city fell into the hands of the terrorist group Daesh and became the group’s stronghold in the country. Following a months-long operation, the Iraqi army, backed by Kurdish Peshmerga forces and US-led Coalition, liberated the city in July 2017.

According to a new report from the Norwegian Refugee Council 300,000 residents of Mosul district are still displaced with no homes to go back to. They make up about a fifth of Iraq’s entire displaced population of 1.6 million.

Around 138,000 houses were damaged or destroyed in the city during the conflict. In West Mosul alone, there are still more than 53,000 houses flattened and thousands more damaged. Basic services are insufficient in some areas and poor sanitation is contributing to serious public health problems and the spread of diseases.

The Governor al-Mar’eed stated that the main focus of EUAM Iraq’s work should be the stabilisation of Mosul.

- To stabilise all Iraq, one must first stabilise Mosul. It is crucial to develop the capacity of the police in the area to make people feel secure.

Head of Mission Ritter introduced the EUAM Iraq’s work and activities to the Governor. The Governor requested to have a more permanent presence of EUAM Iraq in Mosul. Head of Mission promised to pass the message.

During the visit to Mosul the Head of Mission visited the Headquarters of Ninewa Police where he met with the Chief of Police, Major General Hamed Namis and his staff. The appointment of the new Iraqi Minister of Interior was discussed, and it was widely agreed that his appointment, as a former police officer, was a positive step which would hopefully lead to improvements in the country.

The Head of Mission was also briefed by the Head of the Federal Intelligence and Investigative Agency in Ninewa, Colonel Taha Abdulla.

The police in Ninewa suffered severely in fighting with Daesh and lost a great amount of infrastructure such as police stations, vehicles and personnel. All the security functions are conducted by the police in the city. The current manpower is 17 000 policemen but there is a need for 40 000 police officers.

After the meetings, Head of Mission Ritter toured some of the devastated areas in the western part of Mosul.

The United Nations’ Mine Action Service (UNMAS) has estimated that it could take at least 10 years to clear Iraq’s Mosul from landmines and explosive hazards left by the Islamic State.

 

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