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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

8/18/2014 (8 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Hundreds of men who refused to convert to Islam have been executed

A harrowing account of Yazidis being executed en masse by Islamic State rebels has reached the outside world. At least 80 men and boys were shot down where they stood in a village late last week.

According to one eyewitness account, IS fighters surrounded a nearby Iraqi village of Kocho and demanded that its Yazidi residents convert to Islam or die.

According to one eyewitness account, IS fighters surrounded a nearby Iraqi village of Kocho and demanded that its Yazidi residents convert to Islam or die.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

8/18/2014 (8 months ago)

Published in Middle East

Keywords: Yazidis, Islamic State, mass executions


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to one eyewitness account, IS fighters surrounded a nearby Iraqi village of Kocho and demanded that its Yazidi residents convert to Islam or die.

According to an eyewitness, militants told people to gather in a school, promising they would be allowed to leave Kocho after their details were recorded.

SAVE Iraqi Christians from Genocide --

The militants separated the men from the women and children under 12 years of age. They then took men and male teens away in groups of a few dozen each and shot them on the edge of the village.

Displaced people from the minority Yazidi sect, fleeing the violence in the Iraqi town of Sinjar wes

Displaced people from the minority Yazidi sect, fleeing the violence in the Iraqi town of Sinjar west of Mosul, take refuge in Dohuk, Iraq.


A wounded man who escaped by feigning death said that the fighters then walked among the bodies, using pistols to finish off anyone who appeared to still be alive., the 42-year-old man said from an area where he was hiding.

"They thought we were dead, and when they went away, we ran away. We hid in a valley until sundown, and then we fled to the mountains," the 42-year-old man said.

A Yazidi politician, a Kurdish security official and an Iraqi official from the nearby city of Sinjar back up these claims. Islamic State fighters massacred many Yazidi men on last Friday after seizing Kocho.

Islamic State militants have killed up to 500 members of Iraq

Islamic State militants have killed up to 500 members of Iraq's Yazidi ethnic minority trapped in the mountains amid reports that they have been ordered to convert to Islam -- or die.


It was not clear precisely how many men were killed. Iraqi and Kurdish officials said at least 80 men were shot.

In the meantime, up to 3,000 women and girls have been kidnapped by Islamic State jihadis in the north of the country over the past two weeks.

The kidnappings appear to have happened in villages where residents took up arms against IS. Women are being held separately from the men in IS-controlled Tal Afar, east of Mount Sinjar.

Some 200,000 people escaped to safety in Iraq's Kurdish region, but others remain on the mountain.

"The victims are of all ages, from babies to elderly men and women," Donatella Rovera, Amnesty International's senior crisis response adviser says.

"It seems they took away entire families, all those who did not manage to flee. We fear the men may have been executed."

Protesters ask for help for Yazidi people who are stranded by violence in northern Iraq.

Protesters ask for help for Yazidi people who are stranded by violence in northern Iraq.


A male relative of two kidnapped women says that the abductions happened after residents tried to resist the IS attack.

"Of course we tried to defend our villages, but they had much bigger weapons. All we had were our Kalashnikovs. They executed 300 men, and took the women to their prisons.  Only God can save them now." Their children were later rescued by the family, "but the women were in a house surrounded by IS. We had to escape. Now, the children cry for their mothers all the time. 'Mama, mama,' they wail. But there is no mama, we tell them."

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