Mom hopes for help getting boy rescued from Iraqi militants brought to Canada

WINNIPEG — A Winnipeg woman who escaped the horrors of captivity at the hands of Iraqi militants was overjoyed to recently discover that her 12-year-old son has been rescued and is recovering from gunshot wounds at a refugee camp.

Now, the mission for Nofa Mihlo Zaghla has become getting Canadian officials to help reunite her with her boy.

On Wednesday, the Yazidi Association of Manitoba went public with her story in the hopes of spurring officials to act quickly to get young Emad to Canada.

“We’re asking to bring that child to be reunited with his mother,” pleaded association president Hadji Hesso, his voice filled with passion. “That’s all we want. That’s all the mother wants. It’s all the child wants.”

The Yazidi are a Kurdish minority which practise an ancient faith and have been persecuted by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant — also known as Daesh, ISIL or ISIS — for their religious beliefs.

The United Nations has called for countries around the world to accelerate the asylum applications of Yazidi victims of genocide. In February, the federal government announced plans to take in about 1,200 survivors, specifically vulnerable Yazidi women and children and their families.

According to a letter written by the Manitoba association to members of Parliament, Zaghla lived peacefully with her husband and six children in Iraq until the summer of 2014 when her village was attacked.

They were captured and lived in captivity for two years, during which time the association said she was forced to serve as a sex slave to the militants.

But as they were moved from place to place, she became separated from her husband and her two oldest sons, and when she managed to escape with four of her children during an attack on their compound, she made her way to Canada with no expectation she would see them again.

Recently, however, a relative spotted photos of her boy Emad on a website that indicated he had been rescued by the Iraqi army. The photos depicted a weary-looking boy covered in dirt and scratches, dressed in filthy and tattered clothes and clutching a bottle of water.

“When they find children … they take pictures, especially for children and women, and they put them on social media,” explained Hesso. “Hopefully somebody will come forward and recognize that child or that girl or that woman.”

In this case, relatives were able to see the boy and ensure it was Emad.

“He was shot in the arm and in the stomach, and the right side,” said Hesso. “Her husband, we still don’t know. The other son, we still don’t know anything about them.”

Zaghla, who doesn’t speak English, has been talking with her son “every hour, thanks to Facebook and Messenger,” said Hesso. “She was crying and happy at the same time. Tears of happiness.”

Hesso said the boy is in good hands for the moment, but not where he should be.

“Safe? A 12-year-old child is not safe unless he is in the arms of his mother. That’s what we know; that’s the language we understand. But he is safe.”

The association is getting help from the Kurdish Initiative for Refugees and Winnipeg Friends of Israel, and Hesso said immigration officials have been contacted.

“They said they’re working on it, and we asked them on a couple of occasions to treat this like a special case. We don’t want to be filling applications and documentation and such and such — we even offered to pay for the flight, as a matter of fact.”

He said Zaghla is thankful for everything Canada has done for her family, but he personally finds it “very disappointing” the Canadian government has not done as much for the Yazidi as they have for Syrian refugees.

“We have churches, communities, groups, the private sponsorship, and we have not seen a single family for almost a year and a half,” he said.

“Absolutely she’s grateful to Canada. But we need action; we need the government to react quicker and faster.”

Just Posted

Police is still looking for Second World War army passport owner

No one has claimed a rare Second World War German army passport… Continue reading

Rent subsidies for Asooahum Crossing tenants sought from Red Deer city council

Coun. Lee feels the city should be ‘last resort’ for housing subsidy requests

Castor murderer denies he’s a killer

Jason Klaus tells courtroom he loved his family who were murdered in December 2013

WATCH news on the go: Replay Red Deer Jan. 21

Watch news highlights from Red Deer and Central Alberta

RDC chosen to host 2019 men’s volleyball national championship

Sports enthusiasts in Red Deer will have more to look forward to… Continue reading

Police is still looking for Second World War army passport owner

No one has claimed a rare Second World War German army passport… Continue reading

DJ Sabatoge and TR3 Band kick off Sylvan Lake’s Winterfest 2018

Central Alberta’s youngest DJ will open for TR3 Band kicking off Town… Continue reading

Two Canadians, two Americans abducted in Nigeria are freed

Kidnapping for ransom is common in Nigeria, especially on the Kaduna to Abuja highway

WATCH news on the go: Replay Red Deer Jan. 21

Watch news highlights from Red Deer and Central Alberta

Liberals quietly tap experts to write new paternity leave rules

Ideas include creating an entirely new leave benefit similar to one that exists in Quebec

Insurers say Canadian weather getting hotter, wetter and weirder

Average number of days with heavy rain or snow across Canada has been outside norm since spring 2013

Are you ready for some wrestling? WWE’s ‘Raw’ marks 25 years

WWE flagship show is set to mark its 25th anniversary on Monday

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month