"We will not be lenient with the small group that took advantage of the
incidents in the Maan province to destabilize the area and disrupt the life
of its residents," a Jordanian government statement said.
This marked the third major bout of riots in Jordan in as many months.
In November and December, riots swept through Salt and Amman in
incidents that involved soccer violence and a Bedouin shooting.
"We will search and arrest those proven to have been involved in the
[Maan] riots," Public Security director Lt. Gen. Hussein Majali said.
Witnesses said Bedouin mobs, who shouted anti-government slogans,
destroyed government offices, stores and vehicles in wake of the killing of
two members of a local tribe. In one attack, Bedouin gunmen opened fire on a
police station in Maan. Most of the shops destroyed were said to have belonged to
the Hweitat tribe.
In another assault, a courthouse was torched and heavily damaged. In
all, at least three people were injured in the clashes.
The assailants were identified as members of the Hweitat tribe, located
in the village of Mreigha south of Maan, witnesses said. They said officials
promised to arrest suspects over the next few days. Hweitat was identified
as one of the most powerful tribes in Jordan and had demanded
additional government jobs.
The Interior Ministry ordered the reinforcement of security forces in
Maan and established roadblocks around the city. Officials said officers
were directed to use non-lethal means in an attempt to contain the violence.
"We are committed to enforcement of state sovereignty and law and
order," Majali said.