BAGHDAD — Talib Al-Ajami stands near his makeshift house in a garbage and sewage-filled slum in north Baghdad holding a torn, creased letter from insurgents who drove him from his home in 2006.
“In the name of God, the Beneficent, the Merciful,” the letter begins, but the only mercy in what follows is that Talib received a “final warning” instead of being killed outright.
“We know about you and your mean, sectarian activities, and it is time for every soul that holds destruction and hatred for this country to die,” it says.
“You should know that you are a target for us wherever you go. This published statement is for the traitors who live in Khamis Al-Tajah,” a small village near Abu Ghraib, west of Baghdad.
The letter, which is signed the “Advisory Council of the Mujahedeen”, was the second Talib had received in 2006.
One of his brothers was murdered without warning, and Talib decided to leave. He now lives in a shanty town called Mukhayamat.
Iraq’s brutal sectarian war has died down from its peak in 2006 and 2007, but the UN says some 1.3 million Iraqis remain internally displaced persons (IDPs) – Iraqis living in their country, but driven from their homes.
According to UN envoy Martin Kobler, some 500,000 of them live in “sub-standard” conditions.
Claire Bourgeois, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) representative for Iraq, told AFP that fear and lack of a place to return to are among the main issues keeping IDPs from going home. — AFP