Sinjar – A famous, award-winning victim of Islamic State slavery and torture, whose story made world headlines, has returned to her hometown days after it was retaken from the extremist group.
Nadia Murad, a member of the Iraqi religious Yazidi minority, a United Nations goodwill ambassador, and a winner of the December 2016 Sakharov Prize for freedom of thought, made her first visit Thursday to her home village of Kocho, Sinjar region, west of Nineveh.
Several Iraqi media outlets pointed that the visit came days after pro-Iraqi government paramilitary forces, Popular Mobilization, recaptured Kojo from Islamic State militants.
“With plenty of tears, I received the news of the liberation of my village, Kocho,” she said in a statement last Thursday, urging the international community to proceed with the liberation of the rest of Iraqi territories and to ensure continued protection for Yazidis.
Many Yazidis, whose beliefs combine elements of several Middle Eastern religions, were persecuted and held in Mosul by Islamic State, which considered them devil-worshippers.
At least 9,900 of Iraq’s Yazidis were killed or kidnapped in just days in an Islamic State attack in 2014, according to a rare study that documented the number of Yazidis affected.
About 3,100 Yazidis were killed – with more than half shot, beheaded or burned alive – and about 6,800 kidnapped to become sex slaves or fighters, according to the report published in the Public Library of Science journal PLoS Medicine.