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Last Updated: Tuesday, 15 August 2006, 18:01 GMT 19:01 UK
Displaced Iraqis: Sunni family's story
Iraqi Sunni Jamal Anour who has fled sectarian violence in his area.
Jamal Anour: "They took my own neighbours, from right next door"
Jamal Anour, 51, his wife and two children are among tens of thousands of Iraqis who have fled sectarian violence in recent months.

The Sunni musician had lived in the Shaab area of Baghdad since the 1980s. Once a mixed district, it is becoming increasingly Shia dominated as Sunni families move out.

Mr Anour is now living in the Sunni neighbourhood of Adhamiya in a dilapidated house offered by local Sunnis. The area is protected by the Iraqi National Guard.


I woke up one morning at 6am in early April. I went to get my car started and I found an envelope. The note said: 'We will cut your throats within 24 hours. Leave this area you Sunni pigs'.

THE SECTARIAN CONFLICT
Displaced Sunni Iraqi Jamal Anour eats lunch with his wife and two children
In a series on the spiralling sectarian violence in Iraq, we explore the increasing domination of the capital, Baghdad, by bombers, gunmen and militias

I woke my children up immediately. I put them in the car, locked the house and drove to Adhamiya.

I left everything, my house, my work. The good people of Adhamiya took us in and gave us this place to live.

I had lived in Shaab since 1982. My uncle had been there since the 1950s.

We have never seen anything like this, neither when Saddam was in power, nor since he fell.

We have never differentiated between Sunni and Shia.

But after the Samarra incident, they started just going to people's houses.

People we know - people from our neighbourhood - would come with their faces covered, with 10 cars, and kidnap the men.

The next day the body would be found in a dump somewhere.

Abdel Rahman Anour, 10, whose family have fled sectarian violence in the Baghdad area
Jamal Anour says he feared for his children, Abdel, 10 and Thuraya, 12
We have heard those men talking about what they want to do to Sunnis. Things like 'We're going to get those Sunnis, chop their heads off, we won't let them challenge us'.

They took my own neighbours, from right next door. They took all the men they found.

Some of the bodies were found in the dump, some behind the checkpoint.

They say they want to clear the area of Sunni names like Omar and Baker and Sufian. This is nonsense.

Since when do 'Omar' and 'Baker' no longer deserve to live on this Earth?

Mohammad Jamal, a friend of the family, has also fled the same area:

It has been three months since I've left my house. There were six or seven Sunni families living in my neighbourhood. I want to say I hate using these terms, and I hate saying 'Sunni' and 'Shia'.

TOTAL DISPLACED IRAQIS
15 Aug 06: 137,862
28 June 06: 110,000
2 June 06: 98,000
13 April 06: 65,000
30 March 06: 30,000
Source: IOM estimates

One night, three months ago, three Nissan pickups with no licence plates pulled up. I saw this with my own eyes.

They arrested some men, I personally knew some of them - Abdel Hakim Abu Amer, a Sunni from Basra; Omar and Baker who are brothers, one is an engineer and the other a teacher, and another two brothers, Mohammad and Haidar.

They returned Haidar, but kept Mohammed.

They took them all on Friday night, at 9.45pm. The next day, Saturday, they were on the news, bodies found with their heads cut off.

I saw those commandos in their jeeps, fully armed. My question to them is 'what are they doing this for? And what have Iraq and the Iraqi people done to deserve this?'

Interview and pictures by Out There News

map of baghdad




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