Turkish soldiers injure a kolbar in border region

Turkish soldiers opened fire on a group of kolbars and seriously injured one of them.

According to Kolbarnews, Turkish soldiers opened fire on a group of kolbars (load carriers for Daily wage) in the border region in Çaldıran district of Van on May 12.

The report said that a kolbar by the name of Hesen Elem Huli was seriously wounded as a result of the armed attack at the border between Bakur-Rojhilat (North-East Kurdistan) border.

The injured kolbar was reportedly taken under treatment in Maku city of East Kurdistan.

In April, Turkish soldiers captured two kolbars in the countryside of the Beydoğan (Şexsicih) village in Çaldıran. Kolbars Hesen Keçelano (35) and Behnam Semedi, both from Rojhilat (East Kurdistan, Iran) were heavily tortured by Turkish soldiers. While Behnam Semedi suffered deep wounds in several parts of his body as a result of torture, with his face covered in blood, Hesen Keçelano lost his life. Semedi was then left at the border with the dead body of Keçelano.

The tragedy of the kolbars

East Kurdistan has descended deeper into poverty through the years due to deliberate policies by the Iranian regime and stands out as one of the poorest regions in Iran. Compared to other regions, the area has seen significantly less investment and development has been deliberately curbed. Agriculture and industry weren’t allowed to develop, and as a result unemployment rose to highest in Iran.

Faced with policies of discrimination, oppression and impoverishment, carrying smuggled goods is not a choice but a must for survival.

Kolbar comes from the Kurdish words, “kol” (back) and “bar” (load). Kolbars make their living carrying loads along the perilous border line. Their loads include cigarettes, mobile phones, cloths, housewares, tea and seldomly alcohol. They walk through dangerous terrain to continue this trade between Southern and Eastern Kurdistan. The goods they bring are sold at high prices in Tehran, but the kolbars who risk their lives for them are paid very modestly.

The intermediaries who take the deliveries and find buyers in cities are called kasibkars.

Kolbars and kasibkars range from 13 to 70 years old. Some only finished elementary school, while others are university graduates. They carry loads, because they can’t find any other employment. In the last 5 years, some 300 kolbars and kasibkars were killed in cold blood. There are no absolute statistics available for the deaths.