Thirty men captured by ISIL fighters near Tikrit in Iraq have been released, an influential sheikh said, a day after news broke that more than 100 men and boys had been kidnapped.
ISIL fighters reportedly captured 118 men and nine boys on Sunday from Rubaidha village, east of Tikrit, and then released 21 of the men – leaving 97 men and nine boys still in captivity.
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Anwar Assi al-Obeidi told Al Jazeera on Thursday that an additional 30 men had now been released.
It was not immediately clear if the captured children, aged nine and 10, were among those set free.
The sheikh said because phone networks had been cut off in the area, he had not yet been able to gather details about how the released men had been treated or what had happened to the dozens of remaining tribesmen still being held captive.
On Wednesday, the sheikh said that most of those captured have relatives fighting against ISIL and that 600 members of the al-Obeid tribe, where he is the paramount sheikh, have been killed by ISIL fighters since June.
News of the kidnapping came a day after ISIL fighters reportedly captured at least 70 Assyrian Christians in Hassakeh province in northeast Syria.
A new UN report released this week documented widespread human rights violations committed by ISIL in Iraq between September and December last year.
“Members of Iraq’s diverse ethnic and religious communities, including Turkmen, Shabaks, Christians, Yazidi, Sabaeans, Kaka’e, Faili Kurds, Arab Shia, and others have been intentionally and systematically targeted by ISIL and associated armed groups and subjected to gross human rights abuses,” the report said.