Iraq's Shiite cleric Sadr to dissolve his loyalist militia group

Source: Xinhua| 2017-12-11 17:42:17|Editor: Jiaxin
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BAGHDAD, Dec. 11 (Xinhua) -- Iraq's firebrand Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr Monday decided to dissolve his loyal militia group and turn it into a civilian organization after they deliver their weapons and bases to the government forces.

Sadr's militia of Saraya al-Salam, or Peace Companies, will deliver the weapons that the militia received from the government during the battles against Islamic State (IS) group to the government and will block the militia's offices across Iraq except for that in the holly Shiite city of Samarra, some 120 km north of Baghdad, Sadr said in a televised speech.

He also said that his militiamen will withdraw from the areas that they freed from IS within 45 days.

Sadr called on the government not to allow the paramilitary Hashd Shaabi and their leaders in the coming general elections.

"Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has to prosecute the corrupt people from all parties and to work on comprehensive reforms to the state." Sadr added.

Saraya al-Salam is a militia linked to the Iraqi Shiite community and are a revival of the previously known as "Mahdi Army" militia affiliated with the Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr after the U.S.-led invasion in 2003.

Sadr sent the Saraya al-Salam militiamen to the city of Kirkuk after the Iraqi forces took control of the oil-rich province of Kirkuk, which is part of the disputed areas claimed by both Baghdad and the semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan.