UN condemns killing of 2 civil society activists in Iraq

The UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) has strongly condemned the killing of two civil society activists in the southern province of Basra.

“The killing of Reham Yaqoub last night and Tahseen Oussama a week ago presents a serious threat to security and stability in Basra,” Xinhua news agency quoted Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, the special representative of the UN Secretary-General for Iraq, said in a statemen on Thursdayt.

“The citizens of Basra should not live in such an atmosphere of terror and threat, and greater action by the authorities is urgently required to hold the perpetrators accountable, and to put an end to this cycle of violence,” said Hennis-Plasschaert, who also heads the UNAMI.

On Wednesday, unidentified gunmen opened fire on a sport utility vehicle (SUV) carrying four women in the city of Basra, some 550 km south of Baghdad.

Yaqoub, a female doctor who works in Basra Hospital and also a civil society activist, supported the anti-government protests in Iraq which demanded comprehensive reform, fight against corruption, better public services, and more job opportunities.

The attack also resulted in the killing of another woman and the wounding of the two others in the vehicle.

Two days ago, Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi sacked the police chief of Basra province, as well as the head of the National Security Service, due to repeated security violations and assassinations in the province recently.

On August 14, unknown gunmen killed another civil society activist, Tahseen Oussama in Basra.