Manhunt for rioters over policeman’s killing

February 16, 2013

Police in Bahrain have launched a massive manhunt to arrest the killers of a policeman in Sehla, in the southern outskirts of the capital Manama.

Mohammad Asif Khan, 23, died and other servicemen were injured after they were attacked with Molotov cocktails and steel rods at 10.50pm on Thursday, the police said.

Maj Gen Tariq Hassan Al Hassan, the Chief of Public Security, said that Mohammad “was targeted by rioters in Sehla who shot a projectile that fatally injured him”.

“He and several other policemen were securing roads and maintaining order in Sehla when a group of rioters attacked them with Molotov cocktails, projectiles, steel rods and stones,” he said.

An investigation was immediately launched to find and arrest those responsible who will be referred to the Public Prosecutor, he said.

He died on the way to hospital. A witness reportedly said that the steel rod fired at the victim appeared to contain explosive substances.

The police sent out a call to people with information on the attack to contact them through a hotline.

Mohammad will be buried on Sunday afternoon.

His death was the second fatality in the country on Thursday as the opposition marked the second anniversary of the outbreak of anti-government demonstrations.

Earlier, Hussain Ali Ahmad Al Jaziri, 16, was killed in Daih, a village in the suburbs of Manama at the start of a day that witnessed several clashes between demonstrators and anti-riot police.

“The worst clashes occurred in Daih where around 300 people at around 8am attacked the securitymen stationed there to protect the area,” Al Hassan said. “They initially fired shots in the air to disperse them, but the people continued to attack, targeting the security men with iron rods, stones and Molotov cocktails. The security men were forced to deal with them and one of the people was hit,” he said.

Nawaf Abdullah Hamza, the head of public prosecution special investigations unit, said that two policemen were being quizzed over the teenager’s death after the launch of an investigation.

The suspected policemen refuted the charges and denied any involvement in the protester’s death.

They said that they were with their unit in Daih when around 350 rioters attacked them with stones, metal iron rods and sticks, forcing the unit to fire tear gas to break the assault and rescue a serviceman who fell to the ground. The suspects insisted that they did not aim directly at the rioters.

Hussain will be buried in Daih on Saturday.

The clashes between the police and the protesters continued on Friday as a massive demonstration was held on a major highway west of Manama.

No incidents were reported during the protest, but several clashes were recorded in other areas.

Late on Friday, Al Hassan said that an on-duty officer and three non-commissioned policemen were injured by birdshot ammunition fired by a group of people in Karzakan. The police fired back in self-defence, he said.

“Four individuals caught with ammunition have been taken into custody while the search continues for the rest,” he said. “Investigations are currently under way.”

In another development, Al Hassan said that the Ordinance Disposal Unit successfully defused a two kilogram bomb of highly explosive material.

”The Operations Room received a call at 4pm on Thursday that a suspicious package had been found by a cleaner,” he said. “The package was discovered near a mosque on the service road on the Bahraini side of the King Fahd Causeway. The Ordinance Disposal Unit was deployed to the scene and successfully defused the bomb. The Public Prosecutor was notified and an investigation has been launched.”



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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