Manitoba

Ottawa moving quickly to reunite Yazidi boy with mother in Winnipeg

A Winnipeg group that works with Yazidi refugees says it's been assured by federal officials that the boy recently rescued from ISIS will be reunited with his mother in Winnipeg.

Case of 12-year-old rescued from ISIS will be expedited, immigration officials tell refugee group

Emad Mishko Tamo was separated from his mother in August 2014 when the Yazidi family was captured by ISIS. (Facebook)

A Winnipeg group that works with Yazidi refugees says it's been assured by federal officials that a boy recently rescued from ISIS will be reunited with his mother in Winnipeg.

"We have been in contact with [Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada] and we have been assured the IRCC is expediting this case," said Belle Jarniewski, who is a member of the Operation Ezra working group.

Last week, 12-year-old Emad Mishko Tamo was rescued from ISIS after being held captive for nearly three years. 

The Iraqi army posted photos of the boy on social media that were seen by his uncle, who is in a refugee camp in Iraq.

That is how the boy's mother, Nofa Zaghla, learned her son is alive. She had not seen him since they were captured by ISIS and separated in August 2014.

Belle Jarniewski, a member of the Operation Ezra working group, called the boy's reappearance in Iraq 'a miracle.' (Jaison Empson/ CBC)

"This is a miracle. These things are so rare where we find out a child is still alive," Jarniewski said.

Operation Ezra has privately sponsored 41 Yazidis, from seven families, to come to Winnipeg. The group has raised half a million dollars to do so, and Jarniewski said they are expecting 11 more refugees soon.

In a statement, an immigration spokesperson confirmed the department is aware of the boy's situation and is acting accordingly.

"All Yazidi cases are being expedited," Lisa Filipps said. "The government of Canada has already committed to welcoming 1,200 survivors of Daesh [ISIS] and we are working with partners in the region to identify vulnerable Yazidi women and children and other survivors of Daesh and their family members."

NDP immigration critic Jenny Kwan is calling on the Trudeau government to act quickly to reunite the boy with his mother.

"If there ever was a humanitarian case, we have one right here, right now," said Kwan. "I think there should be no hesitation to take action immediately. The family has already suffered enough."

Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen was unavailable for comment. 

About the Author

Jillian Taylor

CBC Reporter

Jillian Taylor has been with CBC Manitoba since 2012 and has been reporting for a decade. She was born and raised in Manitoba and is a member of the Fisher River Cree Nation. In 2014, she was awarded the Commonwealth Broadcasting Association's travel bursary, which took her to Australia to work with Indigenous journalists. Find her on Twitter: @JillianLTaylor