Victims of the Baghdede tragedy demand a fair and transparent investigation

BAGHDEDE, Iraq — Forty days after the horrific wedding hall fire in the Nineveh Plains town of Baghdede (Qaraqosh / Hamdaniya), Iraq, which claimed the lives of 132 members of the Chaldean–Syriac–Assyrian community, those injured in the fire demanded a fair and transparent investigation to uncover the circumstances of the fire, which several Chaldean–Syriac–Assyrian parties and institutions have described as an arson attack and a deliberate crime.

Joshua Elias (69), who suffered burns on a quarter of his body, is not satisfied with the treatment he received. He demanded a transparent investigation into the incident.

“We do not need money and aid,” Elias, who lost one of his daughters and her husband in the fire, stated to Rudaw TV. “We want our rights, and our only demand is a fair investigation.”

When Nouri al-Maliki’s son visited them, Elias told him, “We do not want anything from you except to conduct a fair investigation into the fire.”

On the other hand, those injured in the fire still need to complete their treatment, including Raad Tuma, who needs monitoring every 72 hours and treatment every 15 hours.

Although he returned to his home in Baghdede, his wife is still in a Turkish hospital in an unstable condition.

Tuma, who lost a family member, stated, “My grandson was martyred in the fire, and my wife suffered burns that covered 65 percent of her body.”

The fire resulted in the death of 132 people, including 6 infants, 41 children under the age of 18, and 9 elderly people. There are still 175 wounded, including 15 people undergoing treatment in Turkey.

Chaldean Archbishop of Mosul and its Environs Mor Najib Musa Mikhail stated that Nineveh Plains is a citadel of the Christian people in Iraq.

He added that they are awaiting the real result of the investigations into the fire, because this is the only way to absorb the anger and alleviate the pain of the victims of the tragedy.