Two Phone Calls from the Baladiyat Refugee Camp - 06.27.2006

[Editor’s note: Sunday night there was an attack by gunment in Baladiyat Refugee Camp, a camp for Palestinian Refugees in Iraq, that is situated in East Baghdad, on the border with Sadr City. Our correspondent Omar reached two residents by phone, here are their accounts of the events.]

Mr. Mohamed Jamal

51 year old Palestinian man married to an Iraqi woman

Omar: Sir, can you tell us a little bit about the Baladiyat Camp in Iraq and how did you get here?

Mr. Mohamed: The baladyat is a camp for Palestinians refugee in Iraq who came from Palestine in the year 1948 and those people were forced to leave there country by the Israel forces, then UN inhabit these buildings the make us live in it.

Omar: So what happened after the war?

Mr. Mohamed: Most of the Iraqi people think that Saddam used to give us money and power all the time, but in real there was no money and no power that what make most of the Iraqi people hate us so much.

Omar: Were there any abuses or attacks which happened after the war?

Mr. Mohamed: Yes, there were so many attacks that happened after the war, and most of these attack were by the Badr Brigade or the Iraqi National Guard, they used to come as convoys and detain young men from the camp and tortured them to death or put them in secret prisons, so the detainee’s family cannot find them, and we donít know if they were really the Iraqi National Guard or a gang and we really want from the Iraq government to do something about it because we can’t live like this anymore we can’t send our children to schools and we can’t go to the markets because we are afraid from being kidnapped or killed by those people.

Omar: So can you tell me what happened last night?

Mr. Mohamed: As I remember I saw 3 cars with armed people in it, they were trying to kidnap a young man by force then he started to run so they simply shot him, after that, most of the young people in the baladyat camp came out when they heard the sound of the gun shots. After that they started to shoot on the crowd, two men were killed 3 were injured. The Iraq police came after a short while and they started looking for those 3 cars.

Amar

24 year old Palestinian (one of the eye witness)

Omar: Can you tell us what happened exactly?

Amar: Three cars came into the camp and they wanted to kidnap someone, but he ran from them and he called his friends to beat them. But they stated to shoot at them and the folks stated to throw rocks at them, and after that the police were here and they took control of the situation in here.

Omar: Who do you think did it?

Amar: Well I donít know exactly, but I think that they are from one of those groups whom they hate Palestinians very much.

Omar: Thank you very much.


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