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Yazidis freed by Islamic State enjoy bittersweet homecoming

Tuesday, January 20, 2015 - 01:30

Around 350 members of Iraq's Yazidi community have been released from captivity by Islamic State, although their homecoming to the Kurdish north of the country, has been bittersweet.Mana Rabiee reports.

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Lalesh Temple near Mosul, Iraq is the most sacred place for the minority Yazidi. So it's fitting that its reception hall is where they finally find shelter, food and rest ... after months of captivity by Islamic State fighters who consider the Yazidi people devil-worshipeprs. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) 58-YEAR OLD YAZIDI, HAMA FARIS KHUDAIDA, SAYING: "They kept us in the village for 10 days and then they moved to another village where we stayed for six months. They took women and girls and they killed people." The militants -- called Daesh in Iraq -- released some 350 Yazidis a few days ago, it's unclear just why. Some of the Yazidis think the IS leader issued a pardon; others think it was part of a swap. Most of the Yazidis released are elderly, disabled or infirm. They're reunited with relatives who had given them up for dead... but the homecoming is bitter sweet. (SOUNDBITE) (Kurdish) 42-YEAR OLD YAZIDI, PARFI HAJI, SAYING: "Look at this poor girl (pointing). We do not know her name and we do not know her village. We asked her about her name, but she did not answer. Daesh raped her many times." Doctors test the Yazidis here for HIV and Hepatitis. They say some appear mentally disabled, some suffer from tuberculosis or diabetes. Most, they believe, are suffering from psychological illness and are emotionally scarred...but at least they say, they are free.

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Yazidis freed by Islamic State enjoy bittersweet homecoming

Tuesday, January 20, 2015 - 01:30