Jihadists ruling Iraq’s northern city of Mosul are forcing residents who were in business partnerships with Christians and Shiites to hand over non-Sunni assets, witnesses said Tuesday.
Groups of armed men from the Islamic State (IS) group, which has controlled Iraq’s second city for three months, have been systematically visiting shops and businesses in recent days.
They are informing businessmen they should hand over any shares held by Shiite and Christian partners who fled jihadist rule.
The predominantly Sunni city has been all but emptied of its minorities.
“This is done verbally by small units who stop at every shop, business and market,” said one business owner who did not wish to be identified for fear of reprisals.
“They are giving us very little notice to hand over those assets and are telling us: ‘If you don’t comply, we will seize everything you own,'” he said.
In messages read on streets, in mosques and other public places, IS militants have also warned that those Sunni Arabs who fled jihadist rule should come back or lose their property.
“They are saying that any Sunni resident of Mosul who fails to return to live under the caliphate will be declared an apostate,” said one resident.
Afer capturing Mosul on June 10, the jihadist organisation’s leadership proclaimed a “caliphate” which straddles Iraq and Syria.
After being asked to pay a special tax, convert or “face the sword”, nearly all of Mosul’s Christians fled. Many of their homes were subsequently seized by IS.