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The Iraqi authorities’ failure to protect Sunni civilians from a wave of reprisal attacks by Shi’a militia last month is another example of widespread impunity for what are clearly war crimes, said Amnesty International today.

Abductions, killings and burning of homes and property of the Sunni community in and around the city of Muqdadiya started on January 11 after appalling bomb attacks that killed at least 27 civilians, carried out by the armed group calling itself Islamic State.

The Iraqi authorities failed to stop reprisal attacks by Shi’a militias and have subsequently failed to effectively investigate or bring a single person to justice. Scores of Sunni men in Muqdadiya and surrounding areas are still unaccounted for and are feared dead.

“Instead of holding Shi’a militias to account the authorities have turned a blind eye to this shocking rampage. In some cases, abductions and killings took place in full view of local authorities, who failed to intervene,” said James Lynch, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Program.

“We are calling on the Iraqi government to take immediate and concrete measures to prevent further attacks on the Sunni community and ensure those responsible for these war crimes are brought to justice.”

Witnesses told Amnesty International that more than a hundred families have left the city in fear for their lives, while many more are too scared to leave their homes.