As Iraqi forces come closer to routing Islamic State from their stronghold of Mosul, a grim trend is emerging elsewhere in the country. Unidentified bodies are being uncovered in areas of northern Iraq that could suggest a wave of vigilantism, and extra-judicial killings against suspected militants and their sympathizers, long after they abandoned the territory.
How many is unknown, but it's enough that security agencies are now investigating. Reuters correspondent, Isabel Coles, unraveled the story during a visit to the area.>> In the course of interviewing security officials and locals, I had about these bodies that were washing out in. These revenge killings takes place because people don't trust the state to deliver justice.
But of course, by taking the law into their own hands they are further weakening the state.>> Local police maintain the bodies are victims of Islamic State, who may have slain thousands when they ruled. But security sources Reuters spoke with say, the evidence suggests otherwise. The bodies are too fresh, killed after Islamic State fled.
And some were bound and blindfolded, a style human rights watch says, suggests they were killed by Iraqi forces.>> The people in these areas that ISIS ruled over have suffered terribly, almost everyone you speak to has lost one if not more friends, or relatives. Understandably they want justice and in some cases they don't feel like the state is able to deliver that for them.
>> Many of the soldiers and militia fighting against Islamic State have been personally effected by the Jihadist, and could now be looking to avenge friends and relatives. As Mosul crumbles, the bodies may be a sign of more reprisals to come.