Iraq : Security improves for Christians in Mosul
“The situation has improved markedly since the Iraqi government dispatched armed forces to the area, and things will improve further once we have a new provincial council,”
01/30/2009 Iraq (AKI)-Security for the Christian minority in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul has improved since the wave of sectarian violence there last year, according to the only Christian candidate running in Saturday’s provincial elections, Sami Habib Astifu. He spoke to Adnkronos International (AKI).
“The situation has improved markedly since the Iraqi government dispatched armed forces to the area, and things will improve further once we have a new provincial council,” he said.
The Iraqi polls are significant and could set the tone for parliamentary elections planned in late 2009. They are also seen as a key test for Iraq ‘s Shia prime minister Nouri al-Maliki.
At least 14 Christians died in violence last year in Mosul , capital of Nineveh province, causing hundreds of families to flee the city. Many have since returned.
Mosul is home to the second-largest community of Christians in Iraq after Baghdad . Hundreds of thousands of Christians have been forced to flee Iraq however to escape the violence and the economic crisis caused by the war.
The provincial polls are being seen as a key test of Iraq ‘s stability after years of sectarian strife, as 140,000 US troops prepare to leave the country by the end of 2011.
Nineveh is among 14 out of Iraq ‘s 18 provinces that will select provincial councils. These elect provincial governors and administrations.