Prompting local migration
Drone gangs return to steal livestock in Abu Ghraib,
ABU GHRAIB, BAGHDAD, January 21 –The resurgence of drone-assisted livestock theft gangs in Abu Ghraib, west of Baghdad, has triggered significant distress among residents, leading to migrations from the region.
These armed gangs, known for using drones to scout and steal livestock, have intensified their activities, particularly in the sub-districts of Bawabat Al-Salam, encompassing areas like Al-Zaidan and Al-Radwaniyah Al-Gharbiya, and other regions within Al-Nasr wa Al-Salam sub-district, notably Al-Hamadaniya. They typically operate post-midnight, deploying drones to surveil farms and pinpoint cattle locations before committing thefts.
Suspicions have arisen about potential collusion with influential individuals, as the affected areas are mainly controlled by a single checkpoint, Dor Al-Sajanah, raising questions about the ease of moving stolen cattle out of the region.
Despite the apprehension and court presentation of several thieves a month ago, thefts have continued unabated, indicating the operation of an organized network.
Local residents and tribal leaders are increasingly alarmed. Sheikh Mahmoud Al-Obaidi, a tribal figure from Al-Radwaniyah Al-Gharbiya, voiced concerns about the diminishing sense of security, forcing residents to confine their livestock within residential compounds at night.
Salam Jameel, from Al-Kroushiyeen, noted the thefts have led to significant migrations, as people lose faith in the security and future of their community and investments.
A source from Brigade 55 of Division 17 confirmed the presence of these drone-operated, armed thieves. The challenge for security forces lies in differentiating the drones used by these gangs from those operated by the international coalition.
The source called for increased community cooperation and vigilance, urging citizens to report any suspicious activities to bolster security efforts and curb the alarming trend of livestock theft in the region.