Iraq PM orders army not to round up Sadrists


-File photo

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki ordered the security forces on Wednesday to refrain from random arrests of supporters of Shiite radical leader Moqtada al-Sadr in a new crackdown on militia.
“The prime minister has ordered security forces not to arrest members of the Sadr movement randomly,” a statement issued by Maliki’s office said.
“He has stressed that only outlaws must be arrested and he hopes that the Sadr leaders will help in isolating such elements to get rid of them.”
Maliki’s directive came as a four-day deadline to Shiite militiamen in the southern province of Maysan to lay down their weapons was about to expire.
Security forces are expected to begin a crackdown in the province and its capital Amara from Thursday which Sadr aides have charged is aimed against their movement.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2008