EXCLUSIVE-Islamic State militants seize wheat from state silos – Iraq Grain Board – RTRS
CAIRO/ABU DHABI, Aug 13 (Reuters) – A top Iraqi government
grains official said on Wednesday that Islamic State militants
are taking wheat from state silos in northern and western Iraq,
in order to mill it there and in neighbouring Syria.
Hassan Ibrahim, Director General of the Grain Board of Iraq,
the Trade Ministry body responsible for procuring Iraq’s wheat
internationally and from local farmers, told Reuters the
militants had seized wheat in recent weeks from government silos
in the provinces of Nineveh and Anbar.
Between 40,000 and 50,000 tonnes of the crop was taken from
government silos in Tal Afar and Sinjar in Nineveh Province,
where hundreds of thousands of residents, many of them ethnic
and religious minorities, have fled the militant onslaught.
Militants seized a further 700 tonnes from storage sites in
the western province of Anbar in the past three weeks and took
it across the border into Islamic State-held areas in Syria for
milling, he said.
Ibrahim said militants tried to sell wheat stolen from
Nineveh back to the government in other provinces.
“For this reason I stopped purchasing wheat from farmers
last Thursday,” he added.
Iraq’s grain board normally stops farmer purchases from the
annual harvest at the end of August.