Manama: More than 28 years on, Kuwait’s search for its citizens and other nationals missing in Iraq will not abate.
On Thursday, a senior Kuwaiti diplomat said his country would “continue its search for the missing martyrs.”
“The fate of our missing prisoners of war in Iraq is still unknown and the bodies of our martyrs are still missing,” Kuwait’s Permanent Representative at the UN Mansour Al Otaibi said during the Security Council’s session on Iraq.
More than 600 people, mainly Kuwaitis, have been missing since the Iraqi troops of Saddam Hussain invaded Kuwait on August 2, 1990.
Under resolutions from the United Nations, an international coalition of 34 countries ousted the invaders from the Northern Arabian Gulf state in February 1991.
However, 605 people went missing and commissions were set up to help in the search. Kuwait established the National Committee for the Missing and Prisoners of War.
Despite around 130 meetings held between Kuwaitis and Iraqis under the auspices of the United Nations to determine their fate, not all the missing individuals could be located and no new details were obtained in the last five years.
Only the remains of 236 individuals found in mass graves were identified through Kuwaiti-Iraqi-United Nations cooperation.
The remains were found in the provinces of Basra, Nasiriyah , Najaf and Hillah in the south of the country, as well as Anbar province in the west.
“However, no new bodies had been identified since 2004,” Al Otaibi said as he called on the UN mission in Iraq to continue searching for the missing Kuwaitis.
The diplomat also called for a follow up on the procedures taken for Iraq to return to Kuwait the property and national documents looted during the Iraqi invasion, according to Kuwait News Agency.
In April last year, Iraq’s Ministry of Defense promised financial rewards to anyone with details about stolen Kuwaiti property or with information regarding the whereabouts of the bodies of the Kuwaiti nationals who were reported missing during the invasion.
The offer did not specify the amount of the reward and was the second to be made by the ministry in as many years.
No information was divulged about whether the offer it made in March 2017 yielded any type of information.
The Iraqi government transferred the issue of missing individuals and stolen property from the Ministry of Human Rights to the Ministry of Defence amid pledges that it would be resolved as soon as possible.
However, according to Iraqi reports, obtaining such sensitive information from Iraqis would be very challenging amid concerns they would be questioned.