Bahrainis target Shi’ite communities over bomb attack

Bahrainis wielding knives and sticks attacked residents of the kingdom’s Shi’ite villages overnight beating them in retaliation for a bomb attack against police officers, witnesses and the opposition said on Wednesday.

The assailants, who according to witnesses came from Sunni neighbourhoods, were responding to messages posted online to avenge the bomb attack that injured seven police officers in a Shi’ite village on Monday.

“I saw hundreds of men carrying knives, sticks and other sharp objects,” on the outskirts of several Shi’ite villages, said one witness who identified himself only as Hussein.

“They were stopping cars and asking passengers where they lived in order to determine what sect they belonged to,” he said, referring to the Sunni and Shi’ite communities in Bahrain.

Al-Wefaq, the largest Shi’ite opposition group, said the attackers were in civilian clothes and “beat up” residents of Shi’ite villages.

A statement by the group accused security forces of failing to stop the attacks.

“The security forces did not carry out their duty, they did not disperse the [assailants] or prevent them from attacking citizens,” the statement said, adding that authorities must “deal with these militias”.

‘Illegal gathering’
But Bahrain’s interior ministry said police “prevented” a group of unknown assailants from entering Al-Nuweidrat village, a Shi’ite community on the outskirts of the capital Manama.

In a statement released late on Tuesday, the ministry said assailants “attacked 24-hour shops and destroyed two cars,” after holding an “illegal gathering”.

But the Bahraini interior ministry did not mention attacks by Sunnis on Shi’ite neighbourhoods.

The latest violence comes amid escalating tensions in Sunni-ruled Bahrain over the deteriorating health of prominent Shi’ite activist Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, who is on hunger strike and who has been condemned to life in jail for plotting to overthrow the Sunni monarchy.

Anger is also mounting over the decision by Grand Prix Formula One organisers to go ahead with the show in Bahrain scheduled for April 22.

The youth group of the “Revolution of February 14” has called for “three days of rage” in the Gulf kingdom from April 20 to 22, and also launched a campaign on Twitter to prevent the race from taking place. — Sapa-AFP

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Related stories

Uncertainty troubles South Africans stuck in Middle East

With no representation on the island in the Persian Gulf, South Africans stranded in...

2019: The ones who left us

From Uyinene Mrwetyana, Oliver Mtukudzi to Xolani Gwala, Mail & Guardian remembers those who have passed on

More battles ahead for domestic worker unions

Florence Sosiba, speaks to the Mail & Guardian about how important domestic workers are and exclusion in the COIDA

“Life has been good to me, considering where I come from” – Xolani Gwala

Just over a year ago, veteran radio presenter Xolani Gwala’s cancer was in remission. He spoke to the Mail & Guardian once he was back on air.

Kanya Cekeshe’s lawyer appeals decision not to grant him bail to the high court

Kanya Cekeshe’s legal team filed an urgent appeal at the Johannesburg high court on Tuesday against Monday’s judgment by magistrate Theunis Carstens.

Leader’s principal aim to build IFP

Gravitas: Velenkosini Hlabisa brings his experience to his new post as leader of the Inkatha Freedom Party.

Subscribers only

Toxic power struggle hits public works

With infighting and allegations of corruption and poor planning, the department’s top management looks like a scene from ‘Survivor’

Free State branches gun for Ace

Parts of the provincial ANC will target their former premier, Magashule, and the Free State PEC in a rolling mass action campaign

More top stories

Why anti-corruption campaigns are bad for democracy

Such campaigns can draw attention to the widespread presence of the very behaviour they are trying to stamp out — and subconsciously encourage people to view it as appropriate

Tax, wage bill, debt, pandemic: Mboweni’s tightrope budget policy statement

The finance minister has to close the jaws of the hippo and he’s likely to do this by tightening the country’s belt, again.

SA justice delays extradition of paedophile to UK

Efforts to bring Lee Nigel Tucker to justice have spanned 16 years and his alleged victims have waited for 30 years

Former state security minister Bongo back in court

Bongo and his co-accused will appear in the Nelspruit magistrate’s court in Mpumalanga over charges of fraud, corruption and theft

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday