Yazidi village devastated by ISIS massacre to be rebuilt

Iraq's Prime Minister Mohammed Shia Al Sudani orders reconstruction of Nadia Murad's village of Kocho

The view of Mount Sinjar from the roof of the school in Kocho. (Photo by Florian Neuhof) *** Local Caption ***  fo08ju-kocho01.JPG
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The Yazidi village of Kocho, the site of one of the worst atrocities committed by ISIS in Iraq, is to be rebuilt after an order by Iraq's Prime Minister Mohammed Shia Al Sudani.

The village is to be reconstructed “in fairness to its honourable people and out of a sense of the government's responsibility”, Mr Al Sudani's office said on Tuesday, nine years after the “invasion and destruction” of the village in Iraq's north-western Sinjar district.

ISIS killed almost all the men in Kocho on August 15, 2014, almost two weeks after it had swept through the Yazidi-majority Sinjar district, committing what has been widely recognised as genocide.

Encircling the village, it ordered all inhabitants to assemble at the local school before shooting the men and adolescent boys, and putting women and girls, including Nobel laureate Nadia Murad, on a bus to be sold as slaves in Raqqa and Mosul.

In 2021, 104 residents of the village excavated from mass graves were finally laid to rest in a solemn ceremony attended by Ms Murad.

Many more remains have yet to be formally identified. Local authorities on Tuesday launched a blood drive campaign to help identify DNA matches.

USAID and Nadia's Initiative, headed by Ms Murad, have also pledged to bring life back to the devastated village.

A project announced in 2021 promised to create memorial sites for the victims and build housing for survivors at a nearby site.

“My community of Kocho has experienced some of the worst atrocities known to mankind,” Ms Murad said at the time.

“This project is a critical step toward enabling the dignified return of displaced Kocho community members and facilitating the rebuilding of a dignified life.”

August revives many painful memories for the long-persecuted community, which was singled out by ISIS for genocide.

Monday marked the 16th anniversary of Al Qaeda bombings that killed almost 800 Yazidis in the world's fourth-deadliest terror attack in history.

August 3 marked the ninth anniversary of the ISIS onslaught in 2014, when it the group marched across Sinjar and displaced hundreds of thousand in its attempt to wipe out the ethnoreligious group.

Updated: August 15, 2023, 6:20 PM