December 15, 1996 in Nation/World

Kurdish Camp In Iraq Disbanding

Compiled From Wire Services

A Kurdish refugee camp in northern Iraq will be closed because “activists” now control it, the United Nations refugee agency said Saturday.

The activists will not allow the refugees “to exercise their own free will on the matter of whether or not they want to go back to Turkey,” said Pam O’Toole, spokeswoman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees.

The camp houses 14,000 Turkish Kurds - mainly women, old men and children - who fled Turkey in 1994, U.N. officials said.

The Turkish government said the camp is a base for Kurdish guerrillas from Turkey, a claim the United Nations denies.

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