Iranian forces kill a kolbar, injure two others in East Kurdistan

Iranian security forces have again targeted Kurdish load carriers and shot one of the kolbars dead and injured two in the border region.

Kolbars, Kurdish load carriers crossing the Iranian, Turkish and Iraqi borders between the parts of Kurdistan, live dangerously. They are repeatedly targeted by both Turkish and Iranian forces. According to reports from Kolbernews, Iranian security forces opened fire on a group of kolbars in the eastern Kurdish border area near Shino in the Urmia district. In the attack, kolbar Mihemed Emin Ehmedi was killed and his brother and another person were seriously injured. Six load bearers were also arrested.

At least 46 kolbars killed in 2021

Kolbars (also kolber) are load carriers who bring trade goods across the state borders in Kurdistan. For many people, especially in Eastern Kurdistan, this difficult and dangerous work is the only way to earn money. According to the human rights organisation Kurdistan Human Rights Network (KHRN), at least 46 Kurdish kolbars were killed in 2021. Another 122 load carriers were injured in the border area by gunfire from security forces or natural disasters. Of the 46 kolbars who lost their lives, 17 were killed by Iranian forces and four by Turkish forces. One minor kolbar committed suicide after border forces confiscated his mules.  

In addition, five kolbars died from avalanches, three from frostbite, three from falls in the mountains, three from heart attacks while transporting goods, one from drowning in a river and nine from traffic accidents.