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Iraqi PM calls on local governor to be fired over Mosul ferry sinking

Residents blame corruption for the disaster which left at least 100 people, mainly women and children, dead
Local residents in Mosul bid farewell to loved ones killed in the boat accident (AFP)
The deaths from the sinking marked the biggest loss of life in the city after local forces took back control of Mosul from Islamic State (AFP)

Iraqi Prime Minister Abel Abdel Mahdi has called on parliament to fire Nineveh governor Nawfal Hammadi al-Sultan after a ferry sank on Thursday in the Tigris river in Mosul, killing at least 100 people

The majority of victims were women and children who could not swim, Husam Khalil, head of the Civil Defence Authority in Mosul, told the Reuters news agency.

In a letter sent late on Friday to the speaker of the Iraqi parliament, Abdel Mahdi criticised the local government and accused the governor of incompetence. 

"Due to the oblivious negligence and dereliction in performing duties and responsibility, and the presence of evidence proving misuse of public funds and abuse of power," Mahdi wrote in his letter. 

"We suggest that you dismiss the governor and deputies."

The call echoes growing concerns by residents who have also blamed city officials for Thursday's incident, citing growing corruption in Mosul since it was taken back from Islamic State (IS). 

Nowruz festival

The deaths from the sinking marked the biggest loss of life in the city after local forces took back control of Mosul from IS. 

Local media reports said the majority onboard the boat were celebrating the Nowruz festival, a new year holiday marked by Iraqi Kurds as well as other communities across the Middle East.

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Scores of angry protesters, complaining about the city's corruption, swarmed Iraq's president and the governor on Friday, forcing them to leave the site of the accident. 

The crowd threw stones and shoes at Sultan's car, which sped off hitting two people.

Protesters blamed negligence by the local government for the accident. 

The boat was loaded to five times its capacity, according to a local official.

During a visit to the site of the sinking on Thursday, Abdel Mahdi had said those responsible would be held accountable.

Five ferry workers have been arrested.