Iraqi troops surround provincial building after row

Iraqi troops have surrounded the provincial council building in a province after a row between the council and the governor, officials said.

Iraqi troops surround provincial building after row

Iraqi troops have surrounded the provincial council building in a province after a row between the council and the governor, officials said.

Council members said the forces were sent in because of a dispute that broke out in Salahuddin province between Governor Mutashar Hussain Elaiwi and council head Ahmed Abdullah Abd after Elaiwi backed corruption allegations against Abd.

Elaiwi also backed charges that Abd had used fake educational records, a claim that could disqualify him from holding office. Abd and the council retaliated by appointing a new governor.

A Reuters correspondent counted at least 15 military vehicles around the council building in Tikrit, 150 km (95 miles) north of Baghdad, on Saturday.

The deployment of troops alarmed local residents in a province that has been relatively calm.

"I want to assure you that the security situation in Salahuddin is more than excellent," Major General Hamad Yasin, head of police in the province, said on Friday.

"The deployment of troops around the municipality building is a precautionary measure to prevent terrorists taking advantage of the current situation and carrying out terrorist attacks."

The new governor appointed by the council led by Abd, Khalid Hassan al-Daraji, told Reuters he was ready to take office and start work. "We are working to finalize the related legal procedures," he said.

The incumbent governor, Elaiwi, travelled to Baghdad to seek the help of the federal government to resolve the dispute.

Major General Salah al-Din Rasheed, head of the 4th Iraqi army division responsible for Salahuddin province, said his troops were there at the request of the incumbent governor.

"These forces will remain in place until this crisis is finished," Rasheed said.


Reuters

Last Mod: 23 Ocak 2010, 18:42
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