By Ali Jawad
BAGHDAD (AA) - At least 450,000 displaced persons have returned to their homes in the northern Nineveh province following the expulsion of the Daesh terrorist group from the region, the Iraqi government said Tuesday.
"The Ministry of Immigration and Displaced Persons’ Affairs has managed to repatriate roughly 450,000 people from Nineveh province -- out of 1,350,000 -- following the liberation of their areas [from Daesh]," Immigration Minister Jassim al-Jaf said in a statement.
"The repatriation of displaced people to their homes requires time and close coordination with all concerned agencies. It also requires the restoration of security in these areas," he added.
In reference to possible reprisals against local families accused of collaborating with Daesh, the minister conceded that there were “societal and security” problems in some areas “that have served to hinder the repatriation process".
According to ministry figures, some 5.7 million Iraqis were forced to flee their homes -- in seven of Iraq’s 19 provinces -- after the notorious terrorist group overran much of the country in mid-2014.
Recent figures compiled by Iraqi security agencies suggest that, of these, roughly 2.4 million -- about 40 percent of the total -- have since been repatriated.
In the summer of 2014, Daesh overran roughly one third of Iraq. Over the course of the last year, however, the Iraqi military -- backed by a U.S.-led coalition -- has succeeded in recovering all lost territory.