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Masked thugs attack homes

PEOPLE across Bahrain were sheltering behind closed doors yesterday after reporting masked youths attacking their neighbourhoods on Monday. Some communities set up checkpoints at the entrance to their neighbourhoods for safety, but clashes were reported in Isa Town, Sanad, Riffa, Hamad Town, Saar and A'ali from late Monday until the early hours of yesterday.

A Bahraini in Sanad, who didn't want to be named, said she could hear gunshots in her neighbourhood after masked youths allegedly slipped past checkpoints set up to protect residents.

"Residents told them to leave and a clash broke out and everyone was scared out of their minds," she told the GDN.

"All mothers were screaming for their children to come inside the house and then four or five riot police cars came into the village.

"We think the riot police may have fired rubber bullets (to disperse the youths), but the rioters then went to Nuwaidrat village and my cousins started seeing thugs attacking residents and trashing homes. We were all scared out of our minds.

"No-one could sleep and we were up all night until the sun came up," the Bahraini said.

On the same night, a British resident said youths in A'ali were stopping cars and throwing stones at people.

Central Municipal Council chairman Abdulrazzak Ali Hattab admitted there had been minor clashes in the area, but not as widespread as those in Isa Town and Sanad.

"In my area they have put checkpoints because there is no security from the ministry and maybe one of the reasons is because people are scared if others come from another area to theirs," he said.

"I'm not in favour of all these things, but when you don't have security, what else can they do?"

He said he was hoping the situation would return to normal as soon as possible.

"We pray it will go back to normal because if we go on, it will be bad for everyone," he said.

"Living all these years in friendship and brotherhood, I hope things go back to normal soon."

Northern Municipal councillor for Hamad Town, Khalid Al Ka'abi, said most of the trouble in his area was located in mixed communities, especially at roundabouts 19 and 22, near Malkiya village.

"Villagers came to attack houses of some people that were working in the police, but thank God civilian groups safeguarded the area until the police came," he said.

"There have been no clashes generally, only at roundabouts 19 and 22 some clashes happened, like hit and run cases, but police came and controlled the area."

Mr Al Ka'abi said youths had come to attack families living at Roundabout 5, but the neighbourhood had gathered about 300 residents to protect the area.

"There are some neighbourhood checkpoints and some are monitoring the situation from their homes," said Mr Al Ka'abi.

"We are waiting for the military to control the streets and then everything will be fine," he added.

"Several GCC countries are putting a plan for security.

"At the moment we don't go out unless we need to and to help if some people need help," he added. becky@gdn.com.bh



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