Kolbar are semi-legal cross-border porters carrying goods across the Kurdistan Region-Iran border. Photo: Rudaw TV
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – A kolbar was killed by a landmine after coming under fire from Iranian border guards. In a separate incident in recent days, another kolbar fell and was injured while taking a mountainous route across the Kurdistan Region-Iran border, a rights group has reported.
A group of kolbar mistakenly entered a minefield when they tried to flee Iranian forces in the Piranshar area, the France-based Kurdistan Human Rights Network (KHRN) stated on Saturday.
ANF media reported that the Iranian soldiers opened fire on the kolbars.
At least one landmine exploded, injuring three kolbars. Amirkhan Rakhida, 38, died of his injuries. Mustafa Ahmedpour, 21, lost a leg in the blast. The third, Payman Zarai was lightly injured.
Earlier in the week, a 40-year-old father of three children was injured in a fall near the village of Kani Zard. Rasul Malla Wso was brought to hospital in nearby Sardasht where he was treated for his injuries and discharged after two days.
Kolbar are semi-official cross-border porters, carrying goods across the mountainous border between the Kurdistan Region and Iran on their backs. Some also transport goods on packhorses.
They frequently come under the fire of Iranian border guards or risk their lives in the treacherous mountain passes and cold winter temperatures.
Some kolbars are licensed by the Iranian government, though even they often face harsh treatment from border guards. Some kolbars also smuggle banned goods like alcohol across the border.
The Kurdish provinces of Iran are among the poorest in the country. The economy on the border was also hard hit when Iran temporarily closed its borders with the Kurdistan Region after independence referendum.