Basrans protest over abuse video

More than 1000 protesters burned a British flag and the regional administration in Iraq’s main southern province severed ties with British authorities over video footage showing British soldiers beating Iraqi youths two years ago.

Protesters chant slogans against Denmark and Britain in Basra

In London, the British Defence Ministry announced the arrest of two more people in connection with the images that appear to show British soldiers abusing Iraqi civilians, the Defence Ministry said on Tuesday. Another person, apparently the cameraman who shot the video, was arrested on Monday.

Protesters, many of them supporters of Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, marched on the British consulate in Basra, where they burned a British flag and shouted slogans against the alleged abuse of the youths during a riot on 10 January 2004, in the southern city of Amarah.

With outrage over the video mounting, the governing council for Basra province, which includes Iraq’s massive southern oilfields, announced that it was cutting all ties with British military and civilian operations in the area.

Major-General Hassan Suwadi, the Basra police chief, said Iraqi security forces would cease joint patrols with the British military throughout the province to protest against the abuse.

Footage of alleged abuses wasrevealed by a British newspaper Footage of alleged abuses wasrevealed by a British newspaper

Footage of alleged abuses was
revealed by a British newspaper

“We condemn the abuse of the British forces and demand the British government to adopt legal procedures as soon as possible to punish its soldiers who carried out the abuse,” Suwadi told The Associated Press.

In Amarah, two Iraqis who claimed to have been beaten on the video – Bassem Shaker and Tariq Abdul-Razzak – told reporters they would seek compensation from Britain.

Danish troops

The Basra authorities also demanded the 530-member Danish military contingent leave unless the Danish government apologises for the contentious Prophet Muhammad cartoons that appeared in Danish and European newspapers.

Denmark’s defence minister on Tuesday rejected the demand.

Farm attack

On Tuesday, armed men attacked a group of Iraqi Shia working on a farm north of Baghdad, killing 11 and wounding two, a police chief and hospital official said.

Brigadier Mohammed al-Baldawi, the police chief, said eight members of the same family were killed, including Shaikh Hussein al-Hayali, owner of the farm in Balad, 80km north of Baghdad.

The attack happened shortly before midday when unidentified armed men sprayed gun fire at a group of farm workers, said al-Baldawi.

Eleven people were killed and two wounded, said Dr Qassim al-Qaisi of Balad Hospital where the victims were taken.

Marine killed

One marine was killed and six US-allied troops were wounded in two attacks in Baghdad, the US military said. The military press office said it did not know the nationality of the victims.

Sergeant Stan Lavery said a roadside bomb targeted a military vehicle at 10.30am in Abu Ghraib, western Baghdad, killing one soldier and wounding two others.

About an hour later, another convoy was attacked in Baghdad’s western Salaam area, wounding four soldiers.

Fighters also shot dead an Iraqi army major and his son in Taji, 20km north of Baghdad, early on Tuesday, the US military said in a statement.

At least 12 Iraqis were wounded in a series of roadside bombings and mortar barrages across Baghdad, while police found the bullet-riddled bodies of eight men in locations throughout the capital.

The identities of the victims were unknown.

Source: News Agencies