Refugee crisis: Former Iraqi soldier living in Calais Jungle feels David Cameron 'does not care'

A former Iraqi soldier came to the British government's aid during the Iraq war. But now that he's a refugee in Calais, he demands to know why David Cameron won't return the favour.

Jenny Marc
Wednesday 28 October 2015 18:47 GMT
Former Iraqi soldier shares personal story from Calais

In the family section of the jungle, everyone knew where the pregnant woman lived; there are so few of them that they’re easy to find.

But upon approaching her shack, Jamila was nowhere to be found. Family members took her to the hospital the day before because her baby hadn’t kicked for days.

“The doctor tell Jamila, ‘your baby do not move,’” explained Lukman Mustafa through a translator. “Maybe it’s sick or has died. I don’t know.”

Mustafa travelled to the jungle with seven family members from Iraq, including his pregnant cousin Jamila and her two children. In the 12 days that they had been there, three men from his group had left to try their luck in Sweden because the living conditions appalled them.

“You have to be strong here. No toilet, no take shower, no food,” Mustafa said. “In the jungle, we are living here like animals.”

Mustafa and his family actually live in one of the camp’s nicer dwellings. Instead of tent covered with tarp, they lived under a wooden frame covered in layers of fabric, along with a working door and timber floors. But the food and hygiene standards still fall dramatically short of humane living conditions, Mustafa said, and he believes they’re the reason that Jamila fell ill.

“Here, we eat things like sardines,” he explained, after mentioning that for one two-day period, they hadn’t eaten at all. “In the jungle there is no milk or no vegetables, which is what you need to eat when you are pregnant.”

The family fled Iraq not only because war has devastated their country, but because of Mustafa’s role in it. For over three years, Mustafa served as a member of the Legion Security Force, a component of the Iraqi National Guard, which served alongside western armies during the Iraq War.

Mustafa’s association with American and British forces nearly cost him his life in 2004 when insurgents ambushed his unit. He survived gunshot wounds to his torso during a shooting that killed several colleagues. Since then, he says that various terrorist organizations threatened his family’s safety because of former job, which prompted the decision to leave.

Over a decade later, Mustafa’s service with the National Guard still greatly influences his perception of his current predicament. He was willing to risk his life aiding US and UK troops, he explained, so why aren’t they willing to return the favour by offering a safe haven?

“My country is broken, destroyed. We do not have anything… The reason why I come here, to this place is because I help him,” he said, referring to the British and American governments. “But he does not help me right now.”

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