The groups reported attacks on at least 50 Asians over the last week, in
which four of them were killed. They said some of the victims, mostly
nationals from Bangladesh, India and Pakistan, were shot while others were
badly beaten and hospitalized.
The huge Asian community has appealed for help. On March 15, expatriate
leaders published an advertisement in a Bahraini newspaper that called for
government protection from the Shi'ite attacks, Middle East Newsline reported.
"I visited some of those injured and who suffered psychological damage
due to being very frightened and said to them that if they wanted to go home
then, of course, they should and return when things have improved,"
Pakistan's ambassador to Manama, Ikramullah Mehsud, said. "We have asked the
host government to provide extra security due to these attacks and they are
doing so wherever possible."
Bahrain has provided citizenship to thousands of Asians
recruited to the military and security forces. Retired officers have opened
businesses in Manama, which were forced to close during the Shi'ite unrest
"I heard a group of people attacked cold stores and samboosa shops and
said: 'Close the shop or we will beat you,' " Ms. Al Moayed told the
Manama-based Gulf Daily News. "These people are voiceless. They are too
scared to say anything so they close the shop. They can't work. They are too
The human rights groups said many of the Asians were assaulted at
checkpoints established by Shi'ites. They said the Asians were asked for
their nationality and religion and then assaulted by Shi'ite thugs.
"I think if nothing is done they will start leaving and, when laborers
leave, it becomes a crisis for the economy," Ms. Al Moayed said.
Officials acknowledged that Shi'ites have seized control over large
parts of the countryside outside Manama. They said King Hamad Bin Issa Al
Khalifa has ordered police reinforcements to regain these areas, and
officials said many of the Shi'ite checkpoints have already been dismantled.
"Regarding the public security presence, officers in all governorates in
Bahrain were widely dispersed with police officers patrolling all main
streets and roads," the Interior Ministry said. "The ministry intends to
intensify the 24-hour security in all areas and neighborhoods in order to
protect citizens and residents and prevent criminal activity."