‘Sons of Iraq’ in Baqouba Agree to Return to Duty
American Forces Press Service
DIYALA PROVINCE, Iraq, March 1, 2008 Citizens who had been assisting with security efforts in Baqouba as “Sons of Iraq” agreed to return to their duties following a meeting among Sons of Iraq representatives, provincial officials and coalition and Iraqi military leaders yesterday at the Diyala provincial governance center.
"We discussed the situation in detail, … and all parties agreed that the Sons of Iraq and their leaders would return to work," Army Lt. Col. John Steele, deputy commander of the 2nd Infantry Division’s 4th Brigade Combat Team, said after the meeting.
Media reports of thousands of Diyala security volunteers refusing to stand their duties were inaccurate, according to a Multinational Corps Iraq statement. The statement acknowledged that “a small number” of Sons of Iraq in East Baqouba temporarily refused to work while disputes were being worked out, but said a decreased level of security in Baqouba never resulted.
An estimated 11,000 citizens serve with the Sons of Iraq in Diyala province, 3,000 to 5,000 of them in Baqouba. All work closely with the more than 18,000 Iraqi police throughout the province, officials said.
"This was an Iraqi issue that required an Iraqi political solution. They worked out an equitable solution, and the coalition is appreciative of their dedication and continued service to Iraq," said Maj. Mike Garcia, spokesman for the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division.
(From a Multinational Corps Iraq news release.)