APRIL 28, 2012
With the cease fire still in effect throughout the country, there have been recent stirrings among the pockets of ethnic Iqenis living throughout Alcovia. Most of these citizens have very shallow ties to Alcovia as a nation, being one or two generations removed from Iqenistan, the nation they still hold as their true nation and homeland.
Since the start of the war, most Iqeni have found themselves in a difficult position of which side to choose. While national forces certainly stand for maintaining the current Alcovian state, General Kusatya's rebel forces are comprised mostly of veteran soldiers, many of whom have fought in skirmishes and wars against Iqenistan or defended the eastern Acovian border. This has left most non-enlisted Iqeni remaining neutral and clear of declaring any allegiance. Unfortunately, ethnic Iqeni communities have found themselves in the middle of battles between NAA and either APA and/or ALF forces.
This has led to the regular formation of local militia groups within these communities. Originally created as self defense units for the purpose of protecting their communities, Internal Security forces have discovered that these individual militias are beginning to organize, setting up lines of communication between one another and establishing a network similar to what has been seen among insurgent forces in Afghanistan and Iraq. Though the presence of any influences from outside the region has been discovered, it is likely that, should this trend continue, Al Qaeda and similar organizations may indeed send advisers or fighters of their own to support a Muslim uprising within the Christian nation.
Most recently, some of these militia, especially those in unoccupied territories have started making their own shows of defiance against government forces. Armed gunmen have been seen patrolling the streets of Iqeni neighborhoods, blocking traffic to non-Iqeni residents and demanding tolls for passage. Other groups have made open protests against the treatment of Iqeni citizens, claiming that Alcovia has done little to elevate the living conditions of Iqeni residents beyond that of resident refugees since the massive influx in the late 80's following the epidemic flu outbreak that ravaged Alcovia's eastern neighbor.
One local ethnic Iqeni man was quoted as saying,
The king says that all Alcovians are equals, Kuzaki, Trebizoni, Theogonian, or Iqeni. But, all we see are Iqenis living in such horrible places, piled on one another while others have homes and land to call their own. We were invited here but we are not made welcome but because we cannot go home, we are treated like animals.
This sentiment is shared by many who feel that the kingdom's claims of benevolence in the face of disease and the resulting economic downfall of Iqenistan are nothing more than a veil over the real truth of opportunistic slavery and prejudice. The nation's leadership disputes these accusations by pointing out that the opening of Alcovian borders during the 1987 flu outbreak was done as a humanitarian gesture and that fair housing and provisioning was made to all Iqeni citizens who entered the country legally. they further point out that permanent residency was never part of their initial offering, but was later made available when it became clear that Iqenistan was left in no position to care for the sudden influx of returning citizens.
At present there are some 42,000 ethnic Iqeni men, women, and children living on Alcovian soil. It is estimated that only 68% of these are legally documented residents. Only 23% of these have taken Alcovian citizenship.