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Dozens missing in Bahrain crackdown

Posted by on April 1, 2011 0 Comment

Opposition groups say dozens of people have gone missing since Wednesday as Bahrain’s Saudi-backed rulers seek to quell weeks of anti-government protests by means of martial law and foreign military intervention.

“More than 30 people have been arrested overnight in various towns and regions. The world has neither condemned nor done anything to stop atrocities being committed by the ruling al-Khalifa family and their Saudi backers. They did not condemn the incursion into Bahrain and the occupation of its land. They did not condemn the mass arrests that are taking place [in Bahrain],” London-based Saeed al-Shahabi from Bahrain Freedom Movement told.

The comments come as the Human Rights Watch has accused Bahraini forces of beating and detaining wounded protesters and even denying them life-saving treatment.

Bahrain’s main opposition bloc says 250 people have been detained and 44 others have gone missing since a brutal government crackdown against protesters.

Al-Wefaq National Islamic Society member and former lawmaker, Mattar Ibrahim Mattar, said on Monday that a large number of Bahrainis are arrested at checkpoints or during house raids. Family members have given accounts about their loved ones not returning home.

Earlier this month, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Qatar dispatched their armed forces to assist in quelling protests in crisis-hit Bahrain.

The dispatch of troops from Saudi Arabia and Bahrain’s other Persian Gulf allies highlighted concerns about possible spillover from the country, where month-old protest rallies seek to break the Western-backed government’s monopoly on power.

Saudi Arabia and other Arab states in the region fear that any concession by the Bahraini rulers could embolden more protests against their own rule.

Recently, protesters in Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia and Yemen have been demanding government reforms.

Foreign military intervention in Bahrain has caused UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to call for meaningful and broad-based national dialogue.

The UN chief has also urged Bahrain’s regional neighbors and the international community to support a dialogue process and an environment conducive to credible reform in Bahrain.

Bahraini opposition groups, including al-Wefaq party, have denounced the Saudi military intervention as an invasion of their country.

Bahraini demonstrators maintain that they will continue with their protests until their demands for freedom, constitutional monarchy as well as a proportional voice in the government are met.

At least 20 people have so far been killed and about 1,000 others have been injured since anti-government protests began in the Persian Gulf island nation in mid-February. Agencies

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