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15 July 2024

Iraq clamps down on traffic convoy violations


Iraq's prime minister has ordered the creation of a new unit to monitor violations by official convoys, in the latest bid to curb practices that have angered Iraqis, the interior ministry said on Wednesday.

Nuri al-Maliki has emphasised that official convoys should respect the law, including not firing in the air or driving on the wrong side of the road, a statement on the interior ministry's website said.

Maliki "has said that a special unit will be formed to monitor the violations" and hold those who commit them accountable, the statement added, without specifying which branch of the security forces would make up the unit.

It is not the first time Iraq has tried to rein in convoys -- another such announcement was made back in 2009.

The interior ministry spokesman said at the time that "Maliki decided to take harsh measures against the convoys of government officials who disturb the people by firing in the air or driving against traffic."

And General Abdel Karim Khalaf told a news conference that the use of sirens would only be permitted in emergency situations or when security forces were chasing criminals during traffic jams.

"No matter how important the officials are, their convoys must respect the highway code across Iraq," Khalaf said.