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Wednesday, March 23, 2011     INTELLIGENCE BRIEFING

Shi'ites attack, kill foreign laborers in Bahrain

ABU DHABI — Shi'ites, under a crackdown by the Sunni government, have been attacking foreigners in Bahrain.


Human rights groups said young Shi'ites have targeted foreign laborers throughout Bahrain. They said most of the attacks were on Asian expatriates, who play a major role in Bahrain's military and security forces.

"They aren't in the army and they aren't Bahrainis, just Pakistanis and Bangladeshis who come to work in Bahrain," Migrant Workers Protection Society chairwoman Mona Al Moayed said.

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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 in March.

"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 scared."

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."


The Bangladeshi labourers was killed by Security Forces in Sitra (East Bahrain), and is considered by protesters as a martyr. He was killed when he was protecting protester women.

Ahmed Ali - Manama      1:25 a.m. / Thursday, March 24, 2011

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