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Escaped Yazidi Women Recount Ordeal of Islamic State Captivity

  • Scott Bobb

When militants of the Islamic State seized parts of northern Iraq six months ago, one the areas hardest hit was that of the Yazidis, an ethnic-religious minority living around Sinjar. The militants reportedly killed thousands of men and took the women and children captive. A few of the young women eventually escaped.

Ba’adra camp, home to 15,000 displaced Yazidis, is in northern Iraq. Thousands of others are being held captive by Islamic State militants, known here as "Daesh."

Eighteen year-old Soham Mohamed escaped after six months’ captivity. She said IS invaded her village in August and took away all the men.

“They separated seven of us girls by force from our mothers and took us to a house [in Tal Afar]. The food was not good. After a month two Daesh guys came and they chose some of us and took us to a house in Mosul,” she said.

Soham endured repeated rapes and beatings until a month ago when she managed to escape. She says she ran all night until she found a family to take her in. They eventually contacted her uncle, who rescued her.

IS fighters killed about 1,700 people in the village of Kocho. More than 100 young women were separated and taken to a house in Raqqa, northern Syria, said 22 year-old Sara Hussein. The militants showed up that night.

“Each fighter bought a girl for himself. They came to buy and sell us and convert us to Islam. They raped us and did not give us food. No one was spared. If one resisted they would hit all of us, breaking our hands and our heads. We could not do anything. Sometimes three of them would violate one girl,” said Hussein.

Worse, she said, is what is happening to the younger children.

“We escaped, but we are not happy because our families are not here. All our close families are with Daesh. They brainwashed the small kids and gave them injections. And these kids in the future will do the same things to us,” she said.

Hussein is angry at the response of the international community, which she said has been too little and too late.

“All the major countries are attacking them (IS); America, Saudi Arabia, Australia, France, but they do not care about us. They just care about Iraqi oil. If they want to help us they would free our kidnapped people,” said Hussein.

Hussein escaped in November. She said she wants to testify to the International Court of Justice about what was done to her and her people.

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