On the brutal killing of civilians in Mirza Olang village of Sar-i-Pul province
Press Release (2)
AIHRC once again condemns the brutal killings of civilians in the Mirza Olang region of Sar-i-Pul province and expresses its sympathy and condolence to all the survivors and families of the victims and the injured.
The crime committed in Mirza Oulang is an explicit example of crimes against humanity because the attack was a widespread and organized attack that was carried out against a civilian population, causing the killing of civilians, the displacement of a large number of families, hostage taking of the people and the destruction, plunder and theft of personal property of individuals.
AIHRC, following this tragic disaster, sent a delegation to Sar-i-Pul to investigate the case, and the delegation has conducted the preliminary investigations. AIHRC’s findings of monitoring and investigation indicate that the attackers attacked Mirza Olang village of Sayyad district of Sar-i-Pul province on Thursday, Asad 13, 1396 (4/8/2017). After two days and nights of fighting between the government forces (security forces and public uprising forces) and the invaders, the anti-government armed groups dominated the village. At 5am on Saturday morning, on 14/5/1396 (5/8/2017), the invaders blocked the escape route of the people at the entrance of the Valley and engaged in killing and arresting of people. They also behead three people. In addition, a number of the people were killed while fleeing the village, others were killed during the fighting and some others were taken as captives.
Evidence shows that the number of causality is between 50 to 60 people, including 5 women and 3 children. The staff of AIHRC has so far received full details of the death of 43 civilians. In addition to the killing, 8 people were wounded and 471 families were displaced from their village to other villages and center of Sari-pul province. After the first day of the incident, 150 families remained in the village, from which 235 people arrived in the center of Sar-i-Pol province on Tuesday, 17/5/1396 (8/8/2017). The invaders also killed and destroyed 150 cattle and looted a large quantity of property belonged to the local people.
The statements of survivors and eyewitnesses are extremely shocking and terrible for the AIHRC staff. An eyewitness, a 39-year-old woman, said: "On Saturday morning after the morning prayer, the firing started and the Taliban entered our village, they killed everyone in their path. The Daesh men were wearing masks. They first tight the hands of our husbands and then shot them dead. A total of 9 people of our relatives were first put in a ditch and then killed by firing squad. Three bodies were retrieved and buried, but they did not give the other 6 bodies of the young people. They threw them into a mass grave.
Evidence shows that this brutal crime has been committed by the Taliban in collusion with the ISIS group. According to eyewitnesses, the attack was led by Mullah Nader, local commander of the Taliban and Ghazanfar, local commander of the ISIS group. Taliban has already claimed responsibility for the attack, and Taliban is the dominant group in that geographical area.
Dr. Sima Samar Chairperson of the AIHRC while expressing her condolence and sympathy to the bereaved families of the victims said "The attack on civilian population, public facilities and public places is unforgivable, inhuman crime which is against all norms and principles of Humanitarian Law. We condemn it in the strongest term possible. "
AIHRC, while welcoming the decision of the Attorney General of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to investigate the incident as a war crime and crime against the humanity, calls on the Afghan government, justice and judicial authorities to investigate this disastrous incident precisely, and identify and prosecute the perpetrators of this crime and all those who have played a role in this disaster.
The AIHRC calls on all relevant governmental and non-governmental organizations to transfer their humanitarian assistance to Sar-i-Pul province in order to support the Merza Olang IDPs . The AIHRC's monitoring findings show that the displaced families do not have access to basic living facilities and they are in need of urgent and immediate humanitarian assistance.
Dr. Sima Samar while expressing her concern over the incident said "The government of Afghanistan must take serious security measures throughout the country, especially in the vulnerable areas, and pay special attention to civilians, so that no citizen will be the victim of the terrorist acts of the anti-government armed groups. "
AIHRC calls on the Afghan government to make a thorough investigation about the allegations of local authorities in Sar-i-Pul province regarding the negligence of security and defense organs in the center, and lack of adopting preventive measures to shun the occurrence of the incident, ,despite the warnings from local authorities.
AIHRC once again calls on the anti-government armed groups and perpetrators of this crime to stop committing crimes, targeting individuals, civilian places and violation of human rights and humanitarian law, and end violence and crimes against Afghan citizens.