MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Around 20 people living south of the Iraqi city of Kirkuk were kidnapped by militants of the Daesh* terrorist organisation, NRT broadcaster reported on Tuesday.
Militants attacked a village in the Rashad district, located south-west of Kirkuk, taking 14 locals hostage, Kurdish TV channel NRT reported, adding that the fate of the captives remained unknown.
According to the outlet, militants captured six more people in other villages south of Kirkuk, however one person managed to escape. Residents of several nearby villages reportedly decided to evacuate.
This comes after declaration by the Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Abadi in December 2017 of the end of the country's fight against the Daesh after the Iraqi troops re-established complete control over its border with Syria. After that, the Kirkuk province governor told Sputnik in February about so-called Daesh "sleeper cells" in the area.
The province of Kirkuk was under full control of Syrian Kurds, but after the Kurds held an independence referendum in September 2017, the Iraqi government launched an offensive and soon regained control over the region.
*Daesh (also known as ISIS/ISIL/IS) is a terrorist group banned in Russia