A total of 122 detainees were freed last week in Kirkuk province in northeastern Iraq, the largest single release to date in the region, officials say.
The detainees were released “as part of national reconciliation efforts,” according to a news release issued by Multi-National Corps-Iraq. The ceremony at Kirkuk Police Academy was attended by more than 400 family members, local and provincial leaders and two judges responsible for reviewing and acting on the detainees’ cases.
“There are no second chances,” said provincial Gov. Abdulrahman Mustafa Feta-eh.
Some of the detainees had been linked to the planting of bombs and weapons caches, officials say, but taking an oath in front of families, neighbors and police should help ensure they’ll change their ways.
And in the Radwaniyah community in west Baghdad, four detainees were released to local sheiks.
The newly freed Iraqis and their sheiks signed an agreement with Capt. David Simms, commander of the Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 4th Battalion, 64th Armor Regiment, stating that the former detainees would be looked after and efforts would be made to reintegrate them smoothly into society.