Evacuate Basra Museum, political party told

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A political faction has occupied the premises of Basra Museum which used to house thousands of archaeological relics.

The Basra Museum was looted shortly after U.S.-led invasion of the country in 2003. The British troops who occupied Basra did nothing to protect the museum.

The museum’s collection of magnificent and priceless artifacts was stolen or broken and homeless families moved into its premises.

A statement by The Antiquities Department faxed to the newspaper says the museum and its annexes are now occupied by an influential political faction in Basra which paid off the families to persuade them to move.

The statement did not name the political party but said its leaders were demanding huge sums of money before leaving.

Most of the museum’s possessions are still missing and the building itself is in need of repairs and renovation.

The statement said the department has received numerous artifacts that belonged to the Basra Museum. It said it hoped its reopening would persuade those still holding its relicts to return them.

The statement said it has received 12 tablets out of hundreds which used to be housed in the museum.

The retrieved collection also includes 72 pottery pieces, 177 coins as well as 33 artifacts representing different stages of Mesopotamian history.

[Chuck Jones, who runs the Iraq Crisis list, commenting on thbis article, says: "the Basra museum had
deposited all its collections in the Iraq Museum in Baghdad, like most of the other museums from other Iraqi cities, just before
the war of 2003, and it did not lose its collections after 2003. It lost its whole collection after the war in 1991."]

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