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Maliki gives deadline to Shia fighters

Latest update : 2008-06-15

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has issued a statement aimed at Shia militiamen in the southern city of Basra: They have until June 18 to turn in their weapons in return for cash.

  
Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has given militiamen in the southern province of Maysan four days to surrender their weapons ahead of a military assault in the Shia stronghold.
  
"Those who have heavy and medium weapons, explosives or sniper guns, must hand them over to the security forces over the next four days until June 18 in return for cash," Maliki said in a statement issued late on Saturday.
  
He said those who are accused of crimes but "do not have blood of Iraqis on their hands" must also report to the security forces within four days.
  
After the June 19 deadline, security forces will start search operations.
  
"As part of our continuing efforts to impose security and law and putting an end to the chaos of crimes, we have decided that from today the province of Maysan should be without arms," the premier said.
  
Maliki launched a similar assault against Shia fighters in the main southern city of Basra in March which resulted in street battles between the militiamen and security forces in the oil hub and other Shia regions which left hundreds of people dead.
  
As part of the proposed crackdown in Maysan, Iraqi and US forces began pouring in the provincial capital of Amara on Saturday.

Date created : 2008-06-15

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