ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — A missing child from Halabja who was separated from his family three decades ago — because of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein's genocidal bombardment in 1988— discovered his family and will reunite with them during ceremony on Thursday. "The young man's name is Mohammed Amin.
A short while ago, he reached out to us and informed us that he went missing during the Halabja chemical attack," Luqman Abdulqadir, the head of Halabja Chemical Weapons Victims Society, confirmed to Rudaw.Abdulqadr explained that last month Amin had returned to Halabja for blood tests to try to identify his kin.
The results have proven he is the son of a family in Halabja. After word spread that he was coming to Halabja, "a family brought their documents to us proving he was their son," Abdulqadr said.He added Mohammed’s original name is Khalil, but his foster family in Iran had changed it.
He is now age 31 and works as coroner.
Today, the family will reunite in Iran under the supervision of the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Representation to Iran, and the Halabja victims society.KRG Representative to Tehran Nazim Dabagh urged families who have lost contact with relatives to continue to search for them in Iran and ask about their whereabouts. "Finding the missing people of Halabja is not easy.
Those who have their loved ones missing must search for them and we will do our utmost on our side to assist them," Dabagh told Rudaw EnglishIf those in Iran believe they are originally from Halabja, they should reach out to his office because "the process of reunifications between both sides would be very easy.”At least 179 children from 73 families went missing in the aftermath of the chemical weapon attack on Halabja, according to the Society.
So far, only eight of them – now adults – have rejoined their families.
Ten more currently have come forward claiming to be lost children, but are still searching for proof. On March 16, 1988, airplanes from the Saddam regime indiscriminately dropped various gasses on the city of Halabja, 12 kilometers from the Iranian border. Immediately in the attack, 5,000 people died and as many as 10,000 were injured.
In the panic and ensuing exodus primarily over the mountains to Iran families became separated.
Hundreds are yet to be reunited.
Related: Missing child of Halabja becomes Iraqi citizen
Photos of Khalil and his family submitted to Rudaw.