Updated at 9:07 p.m. EST, Mar. 28, 2009
Clashes broke out in Baghdad after police arrested a local Sahwa leader and
his aide. Overall, at least seven Iraqis were killed and 18 more were wounded
across the country. Also, the Iraqi government is threatening
to deprogram Iranian refugees they would like to see leave the country.
Tensions between the Awakening Councils (Sahwa) and the
Iraqi government came to a head today when police arrested a Baghdad area
leader and his aide. Four
people were killed and 10 others were wounded in rioting that followed the
arrest. Five Iraqi soldiers were kidnapped at the
Relations between the Sahwa groups and the Shi’ite central
government are still strained despite the handover of the group from U.S. to
Iraqi control last year. The group had been paid by the U.S. to handle security
in largely Sunni areas and is credited with reducing violence in Iraq. They are
supposed to be completely
within Iraqi control by the end of the month, but a hiring freeze could eliminate jobs the members are
counting on. Many already claim
they have not been paid their salaries in months.
The Iraqi government on the other hand does have good reason
to be wary of the group as many members fought alongside al-Qaeda until
switching sides. They maintain the right to arrests such members who may have
The central government is also threatening
to relocate Iranian refugees at Camp Ashraf so they can be
“detoxified.” They say they will separate the People's Mujahideen of Iran
(PMOI) leaders from their "brainwashed cult members" and deprogram
the group. Saddam Hussein had invited the group to Iraq during the Iran-Iraq
war but renounced violence after the US.-led invasion. They had been under U.S.
protection until last year.
In Mosul, an Iraqi army officer was wounded
during a roadside bombing. Gunmen wounded
a policeman in a small arms attack. A bomb blast in Sumer wounded four people. Gunmen killed
one civilian and wounded two others in the Palestine neighbhorhood.
The bodies of
two farmers were discovered in Amiriyat al-Fallujah.
A “special groups” leader was arrested in Aziziya.
Twenty detainees were cleared
of charges and released in Fallujah.
Compiled by Margaret Griffis