First IS mass grave opened in Yazidi region

Kojo: Iraqi authorities on Friday opened a first mass grave containing victims of the IS group in the Yazidi stronghold of Sinjar, where militants brutally targeted the minority. Nobel Peace Prize winner Nadia Murad, a Yazidi who escaped IS and became an outspoken advocate for her community, attended the ceremony in her home village of Kojo to mark the start of exhumations. The United Nations, which is assisting with the forensic work, says the first opening of a mass grave in the region will help to shed light on the fate those inhabitants killed by IS. Hundreds of men and women from the village are believed to have been executed by the militants when they took over the area in 2014.

The Yazidi people were targeted by the IS militants who swept across northern Iraq in 2014 and seized their bastion of Sinjar near the border with Syria.  IS fighters slaughtered thousands of Yazidi men and boys, then abducted women and girls to be abused as slaves. The Kurdish-speaking Yazidis follow an ancient religion rooted in Zoroastrianism, but IS considers them to be “apostates”. The United Nations has said IS’s actions could amount to genocide, and is investigating the militant group’s atrocities across Iraq. — AFP