Thousands protest the killings of Shia Hazaras in Afghanistan

Published November 10th, 2015 - 03:30 GMT

Afghans have held a major demonstration in the southeastern province of Ghazni, protesting against a recent beheading of Shia Muslims by militants in the violence-wracked country, Press TV reports.

On Tuesday, large crowds of protesters poured onto the streets of the provincial city of Ghazni to voice their outrage against the massacre of seven Shia Muslims belonging to the Hazara community.

Thousands of people, including women and children, have been sitting in the open with the coffins of seven victims outside the provincial governor's compound in a sign of protest.

The protesters also demanded that the Afghan government take decisive action against the militant groups involved in the killings, complaining that Kabul cannot provide security for the Hazara Shia Muslim community.

According to organizers, the bodies would be soon transported from Ghazni to the capital Kabul, ahead of a demonstration planned for Wednesday near the presidential palace.

About 100 peace activists also gathered in a Kabul park on Tuesday to denounce the massacre.

The protests came after local Afghan officials said that the beheaded bodies of seven people, including, two women and one child, who had been kidnapped by militants in October from Ghazni Province, were found in the Khak-i-Afghan district of the southern province of Zabul on Sunday.

In a statement on Monday, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani strongly condemned the killings and vowed to track down the perpetrators.

"The heartless killing of innocent individuals, especially women and children, has no justification in any religion or creed,” the statement said.

Sources say Daesh militants are behind the latest slaughter of Shia Muslims. Daesh militants have been stepping up their terror activities across Afghanistan over the past months.

Eight Shia hostages freed

In a separate development, the National Directorate of Security (NDS), Afghanistan's spy agency, freed eight people, including two women and a teenager in Ghazni Province. They were among a group of 31 Hazara Shia Muslims kidnapped in February earlier this year.

Of the abductees, 19 were freed in May and the rest remain unaccounted for.

Senior Afghan government officials had earlier said that Daesh was behind the abductions.

Hazaras Shia Muslims have been targeted in several large-scale kidnappings across Afghanistan this year, prompting demonstrations and sit-ins in Kabul and elsewhere.

The Hazara Shia Muslim community makes up about 22 percent of Afghanistan's population.

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