Angry tribesmen torch Kuwait candidate’s tents

January 31, 2012

Kuwait’s parliamentary election campaigns descended into violence after angry tribesmen torched the tents of a candidate who allegedly insulted the name of their tribe.

Local reports said that thousands of men from Al Mutair tribe late on Monday converged on the headquarters of controversial candidate Mohammad Al Juwaihal in Adailiya, fought with his supporters and set his tents ablaze.

The protestors blasted the candidate and called for barring him from running in the elections scheduled for Thursday.

Reports said that the act of arson and the insults by the tribesmen were in reaction to a speech by Al Juwaihal, running in the Third Constituency, in which he attacked Abaid Al Wasmi, a candidate in the Fourth Constituency and member of Al Mutair tribe.

“Al Wasmi described Kuwaitis as dogs, and I tell him that he is the son of 60,” he reportedly said. “And if he thinks that his tribe will protect him, we will crush you and your tribe,” he said at around 7 pm, quoted by local Arabic daily Al Qabas.

Reacting to the diatribe, Al Wasmi, a law professor at the University of Kuwait, said that the authorities had four hours to respond to Al Juwaihal’s insults to the tribe.

“If the authorities do not apply the law, we will,” he said. “All red lines have been transgressed and we will take the law unto our hands if it is not applied officially,” he said, cited by Al Qabas.

As members of the tribe converged near Al Juwaihal’s headquarters, they torched the tents and prevented the fire brigades from reaching them to out the fire out.

The police sought to impose a cordon on the area to limit the number of people who could enter and reduce the ominously selling number of the crowd.

Attempts by the authorities to have the members of Al Mutair tribe leave the area failed as the protestors pressed for crossing Al Juwaihal’s name from the list of candidates.

At a press conference he held at 4 am, Al Wasmi reiterated his warning that the tribe would take action.

“We have used up all legal means, and if the law is not applied as it should be, we will do it. We have given the minister four hours and we now extend it by 12 hours to take the appropriate measures,” he said. “We will cut off the tongue of anyone who insults us,” he said.

Al Wasmi reportedly handed a formal complaint against Al Juwaihal to the interior minister.

Around 400,000 Kuwaitis are expected to cast ballots on Thursday to elect 50 members of parliament.



About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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