MOSUL: Relatives and colleagues of an Iraqi MP gunned down outside his home blamed government negligence for his death as the lawmaker, from ex-premier Iyad Allawi’s bloc, was buried on Tuesday.
Security forces arrested one man in connection with the assassination of Bashar Hamid Al-Agaidi, who was ambushed outside his home in the main northern city of Mosul and died of his wounds in hospital, the first such murder since parliamentary elections in March which have yet to result in a new government.
"This is a terrorist act — where were the security forces and where was the government?" said Mohammed al-Agaidi, the MP’s cousin, after the burial in Al-Areij, 30 kilometers (20 miles) south of Mosul.
"This all happened because of the delays in the formation of the government. There is a security vacuum in the country… It is a great loss for Iraqis, he was a very good man and a leader in the Mosul community."
While Allawi’s Iraqiya bloc won the March 7 election with 91 seats in the 325-member parliament, no group has yet assembled the parliamentary majority necessary to form a government.
US and Iraqi security officials had warned before the nationwide poll that a protracted period of government formation could give insurgent groups an opportunity to further destabilize Iraq.
"We asked the government to provide protection for our candidates before the elections, but the government refused," Osama Al-Nujaifi, the head of the Sunni Arab Al-Hadbaa faction of which Agaidi was a member, told AFP.
"Negligence on the part of the government led to this situation. We accuse the government of being negligent, and the terrorists of carrying out this crime."
The Al-Hadbaa faction is centered around Nineveh province, of which Mosul is the capital, and is a part of Allawi’s Iraqiya bloc.
Agaidi’s uncle Nadhim Mahmud Al-Agaidi, however, partially blamed Nujaifi and the Iraqiya list, saying: "Osama Al-Nujaifi has dozens of guards but Bashar had only two men.
"They have badges for their weapons, but they were not accepted by Nineveh security forces. Is that right?"
Nujaifi said two people had been detained in connection with the killing, but Iraqi security forces said only one had been captured.
Agaidi was killed on Monday evening when gunmen ambushed him outside his home in Mosul’s Amil neighborhood and opened fire on him, police said.
He was rushed to hospital after suffering gunshot wounds to the head and chest, but died of his injuries, Doctor Fares Al-Obeidi said.
The father-of-two studied computer science at Mosul University and had been active in campus politics, becoming president of its students’ union.
He stood in provincial elections last year for Al-Hadbaa but failed to win a seat. His family members said he had not been threatened before Monday’s attack.
Government spokesman Ali Al-Dabbagh condemned the killing, telling Al-Arabiya satellite television that "this was a criminal act against an important symbol who had just been elected."
Agaidi’s death is the first assassination of an MP since the March elections.
Incumbent Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki’s State of Law alliance came second after Iraqiya with 89 seats and the Iraqi National Alliance, led by Shia religious groups, came third with 70.
Maliki’s bloc and the INA announced earlier this month they would band together, leaving them just four seats short of a parliamentary majority, although Kurdish MPs are likely to ally with the newly formed coalition.
Mosul, 350 kilometers (220 miles) north of Baghdad, is one of the country’s most violent cities and a hotspot for insurgent attacks.