Sign In / Up

Add contribution as a guest

Your email will not be displayed publicly
Benefit of signing in/signing up to personalize comment

Comment as a guest

Your email will not be displayed publicly
Benefit of signing in/signing up to personalize comment


Not a member Register   Forgot Password
or connect using





Kurdish family wants answers after 2-year-old killed in Belgian police chase

By Rudaw 22/5/2018
Mawda’s mother shows a picture of her two-year-old daughter during a press conference in Brussels on Monday. Photo: Thierry Roge/Belga/AFP
Mawda’s mother shows a picture of her two-year-old daughter during a press conference in Brussels on Monday. Photo: Thierry Roge/Belga/AFP
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – In search of a better life in Europe, Mawda’s father took his family on a difficult journey, but lost his two-year-old daughter to police gunfire in Belgium. 

On the night of May 16, Belgian police opened fire on a vehicle carrying refugees near the city of Mons, killing Mawda Shamdin Ali, whose family is from the Kurdistan Region. 

“We do have information that police fired on two vehicles. The one that Mawda was in was targeted, killing her,” Ari Jalal, head of the Kurdistan branch of the Iraqi Migrants Federation, told Rudaw.

Mawda died in an ambulance. 

“The autopsy determined that the cause of death was a bullet that entered the cheek,” prosecutor Frederic Bariseau told reporters last week. 

“We cannot exclude that this bullet came from a police officer’s gun,” he said, adding that police have opened an internal investigation.

All 30 people in the van – 26 adults and four children – were Kurds. 

UK paper The Guardian reported that Belgian police believed the van was being driven by smugglers bringing migrants to the coast where they would be smuggled into trucks for a trip into the UK.

The prosecutor said police spotted the van during a routine patrol. After determining that the plates were fake, police approached the vehicle, but the driver drove off. A chase ensued and police called in reinforcements. The chase ended when police opened fire near Mons.  

“Activists are attempting to stage a series of demonstrations to protest the act of the Belgian police,” Jalal said.

The Shamdin Ali family, like hundreds of Kurdish families, took the dangerous route to Europe in 2013. Mawda was born in Germany. 

They did make it to the UK at one point. “They had stayed in the UK for six months, but since their daughter had born in Germany, they were deported to there by the British authorities,” Azad Ali, Mawda’s uncle, told Rudaw of his brother’s saga. 

“They came back and stayed in Germany for a year and a half. They once again tried to return to the UK traveling through Belgium and France. When they arrived in Belgium, police fired on them,” Azad explained. 

“We do not know why they were shot at. There were a number of migrants in the van, but the bullets hit only Mawda,” he added.

The police held Mawda’s mother and father for three hours after the incident, Azad said. 

Shamdin's father explained to Rudaw that his son was a Peshmerga and left the Kurdistan Region for economic reasons. 

“Six years ago, my son got married. God gave them a son. Shamdin was a Peshmerga from [Peshmerga Ministry’s] 70 Unit,” Ali Ahmed told Rudaw.

His son made the decision to leave Kurdistan because of economic hardship. 

“I was paying the rent for his house. When he decided to go to Europe, I paid for the journey,” he added.

A Kurdistan Region organization that deals with migrants returning from Europe is following up on Mawda’s case. 

“The incident is new and we do not have much information on it,” Sardar Abdullah, deputy head of the organization, told Rudaw.

“It is clear that migrants are badly treated and their conditions are very miserable in European countries, especially when their cases are rejected,” he added.

“We have the cases of five migrants who committed suicide after their asylum applications were rejected.”

According to data from Abdullah’s office, some 15,000 migrants have returned to the Kurdistan Region since 2011.

“En route to Europe, 65 Kurdish migrants have gone missing since 2011,” he added.


Data pager
Page size:
Hittler23 | 22/5/2018
Belgium police and the country of Belgium are feeling the worst Reacists and fasists sama idoligi I now understand why isis attacked this country and isis did well.
cubricus | 22/5/2018
I can tell you why they were shot at. Because they didn't stop, forcing the police to chase them. Yes, you can get shot then. And economic migrants are not refugees. Just because you feel you would like to live better, you have absolutely no right to demand asylum. Shame on you!
Outsider | 24/5/2018
I feel sorry for the child and its parents!
Ahmed | 24/5/2018
One if the nazi countries Belgium
Soran | 26/5/2018
You never have a right to shoot at individuals in any country. I guess Belgium isn't as civilized as they say. Police officers in Canada don't have a right to fire their weapons unless they are being threatened.
Tags :

Be Part of Your Rudaw!

Share your stories, photos and videos with Rudaw, and quite possibly the world.

What You Say

Mamozin | 10/16/2018 5:39:29 AM
I cam promise you that after 30 years of struggle to build a united Iraq, each times comes a new evil. The problem is not that it can't be a...
Muraz | 10/16/2018 5:47:05 AM
Kdp sold kirkuk
Ahead of Kirkuk anniversary, Sadr appeals for Kurdish-Iraqi unity
| 22 hours ago | (3)
Guest | 10/15/2018 2:22:52 PM
All societies have individuals who differ in their opinions. Having the liberty to speak freely about their opinions and practice their own religion,...
AskAKurd | 10/16/2018 1:05:35 AM
Haha, mullahs are trying to tell whats good for kurds? Now I have heard everything. You guys are a joke. You Mu-lliers stop telling your mullah...
Islam can solve the Kurdish question: mullahs
| yesterday at 08:50 | (21)
Gaave | 10/15/2018 8:02:18 AM
It is unbelievable that one of the wealthy country in the world, now is struggling to pay decent salaries. The current regime needs to be held...
Bijan | 10/15/2018 7:51:35 PM
@Bavs Please control your anger dear friend. Azeris are mostly Turkified Iranics. Till 500 year ago persian, talysh, tat languages were spoken there,...
Iran’s teachers begin 2-day national strike
| yesterday at 05:43 | (4)
John Bird | 10/15/2018 7:24:56 PM
Will this make people stop taking such huge risks to themselves and their kids? I don’t think so. The promise of a free apartment and social welfare...
Turkey releases sole survivor of migrant boat tragedy that killed 34
| 18 hours ago | (1)

Elsewhere on Rudaw

Istanbul police to search Saudi consul's residence in Khashoggi case 3 hours ago |

Istanbul police to search Saudi consul's residence in Khashoggi case

UN rights chief calls to lift Saudi 'immunity' more
October 16: The day that lifted many masks 5 hours ago |

October 16: The day that lifted many masks

The US government failed to deter Iran, and more
0.329 seconds