Kurdistan region 'Iraq', — A group of armed men have
attacked the office of the an independent Kurdish Nalia TV and Radio (NRT) Channel in
northern Sulaimaniyah, completely burning it and
wounding one of its guards, a security source said.
The channel had started launching programs Feb.17,
broadcasting the deadly confrontation between the
Kurdish security and the demonstrators on the first
day of recent protest rallies in Kurdistan.
The TV and radio office was set on fire at 02:30
local time and a person was injured in the event.
The TV said at its 08:30 news bulletin Sunday, it has
been threatened through phone calls to end
"About 50 armed men have broken through the Kurdish NRT Channel in the so-called "German Village" north
of Sulaimaniyah, wounding one of its guards in the
chest and completely burning its office.
This caused disruptions to the transmission of the
channel that used to carry out reports about recent
demonstrations and the city," the source told Aswat
al-Iraq news agency.
The gunmen forced their way to the headquarters of
NRT inside the compound, and attacked the facility,
by first shooting at the essential broadcast
equipment and ultimately burning down the
three-storey building with all its studios and other
equipment. The entire headquarter of the station is
now reduced to ash.
Employees inspect the offices of the independent
Nalia TV station in Sulaimaniyah, after it was
attacked early on Sunday. The station had carried
live footage of protests against the autonomous
Kurdistan region's dominant political bloc. Photo:
The gunmen, who wounded one of NRT’s guards,
subsequently left the compound and left behind them
a trail of blood pointing in the direction of
Dabashan Hill, where the residence of
President Jalal Talabani is in Sulaimaniyah.
The blood trail was created when one of the
attackers was wounded as the guards fired at them
when they were trying to enter the compound by
NRT’s cameras recorded the blood trail all the way
to Dabashan Hill near President Talabani’s house in
The gunmen who conducted the operation in a very
professional manner also left behind a partly-burnt
green army glove with blood stains on the location.
The building now is yellow-taped for investigation.
The owner of the station, Shaswar Abdulwahid, says
that he received a number of threatening remarks
from senior politicians of the city and was asked to
stop broadcasting. NRT reported the threats and
later he was reassured by others like the KRG PM,
Barham Salih, and PUK deputy secretary-general,
Kosrat Rasul, not to worry and continue
NRT is the first independent television station in
Northern Iraq. It started broadcasting on 17th of
February, and covered the demonstrations in
Sulaimaniyah. It was the only station to broadcast
footage of the opening of fire on the
during the first day of the demonstrations and the
events of the following days. The destruction of the
station comes at a time when all the other satellite
channels can not cover the events adequately. Last
night a number of politicians threatened Mr. Sheswar,
the owner of the company; NRT reported on those
threats. Now, no other TV channels are left to
independently cover events in Kurdistan.
According to Twana Osman, the General Manager of NRT,
"Kurdistan Regional Government and the PUK as the
main party in Sulaimaniyah must be considered
responsible for this crime until the perpetrators
are found and arrested. This attack is not only
against NRT but against the general public of
Kurdistan, a dangerous attempt to hide the truth,
keep the public ignorant and obstruct and intimidate
the independent media."
Noteworthy is that hundreds of demonstrators have
gone to the streets of Sulaimaniyah last Thursday,
demanding the improvement of public services and
living standards, as well as fighting
corruption and carrying out political reforms,
during which about 7 of the demonstrators were
killed and 47 others injured in shooting in front of
the headquarters of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), where the
Most of the demonstrators opposed Kurdistan regional
president Massoud Barzani and the ruling Kurdistan
Democratic Party, and the protest occurred a few
hundred meters from the KDP party office.
Sulaimaniyah Governor, Bahruz Mohammed, had
announced a curfew between 07:00 p.m. and 07:00 a.m.
local time, whilst three headquarters of the Kurdish
opposition Gorran (Change) Movement were set on fire
in Erbil, Duhok and Suran cities, causing no
The Gorran Movement had considered opening fire on
civilians by the guards of the KDP's headquarters on
civilian demonstrators as a "crime," demanding an
emergency meeting of Kurdistan Parliament to discuss
the current situation.
Meanwhile, an eyewitness told Aswat al-Iraq news
agency that the said Channel "had been carrying out
an experimental transmission over the past three
weeks, and began its actual transmission three days
ago, and had been carrying out reports about the
demonstrations in Sulaimaniyah, during which it
carried video shots of a young man, called Rizwan,www.ekurd.netwho was shot dead during the demonstrations, along
with other shots by the security forces on the
demonstrators, close the headquarters of the
Kurdistan Democratic Party.
For decades, the KDP
of regional president Massoud Barzani and the
PUK of Iraq's President
Jalal Talabani have lorded over the region.
Massoud Barzani, the KDP chief and current Kurdistan president, and his
relatives control a large number of commercial
enterprises in Kurdistan-Iraq, with a gross value of
several billion US dollars. The family is routinely
accused of corruption and nepotism by Kurdish media
as well as international observers.
NRT is the first independent satellite channel
funded by the private sector. Nalia Company owns NRT
for broadcasting, publication and media marketing
which belongs to Nalia group for real estate
investment. Shaswar Abdulwahid, a 33-year old
engineer and investor, is the owner of Nalia Group.
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Agencies | ekurd.net | aswataliraq.info | aknews.com