101 bombs planted last year in Bahrain
Manama, March 20, 2014
Radicals planted a total of 101 explosive devices in Bahrain last year, according to an MP who is currently on a mission to highlight challenges facing the country.
Ahmed Al Sa'ati is on an overseas tour to change foreign perceptions by explaining the situation on the ground, said a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.
He said official figures presented to MPs showed that, on average, police dealt with one Improvised Explosive Device (IED) once every three and a half days last year - in addition to 61 hoax bombs.
Al Sa'ati revealed the statistics in response to figures released by opposition groups earlier this week, which alleged human rights violations by authorities - including arrests and injuries of rioters.
The MP said that police had to clamp down after anti-government groups intensified their campaign of violence.
"Authorities dealt with 45 homemade explosives, including hoax ones, in 2011 - of which eight detonated," said Al Sa'ati.
"In 2012, there were 263 fake bombs and 80 real explosives dealt with by the security forces."
He was responding to an Al Wefaq National Islamic Society report that claimed 769 demonstrations marked the third anniversary of anti-government protests last month and that 73 protesters were injured in clashes with security forces; 162 people were arrested; 142 house raids took place; 73 detainees were released, of which 38 were re-arrested; 10 properties were damaged; and two people died in custody - including a sickle cell patient and a woman who died from "consternation and terror".
Al Sa'ati, who is parliament's human rights committee chairman and a board member of the National Institution for Human Rights (NIHR), told the GDN that those figures ignored the violence that police were facing on a daily basis.
"The illegal roadblocks on main highways were around 187 last year, while in other areas it exceeded 900," revealed Al Sa'ati.
"A majority of the protests turned violent with Molotov cocktails being used against security forces, who respond according to the law and arrests are made. They (rioters) are not protesters, but lawbreakers."
He cautioned people against relying on selective information, which could be misleading, and said people were getting tired of violence and vandalism perpetrated by opposition foot soldiers.
"Bahrainis are fed up with the government's tolerance of these things," he said, adding that parliament had received several complaints from the business community - especially from those in the Manama suq - whose business is affected by illegal protests in the heart of the capital.
Meanwhile, a spokesman for the Al Fateh Youth Coalition (FYC) - a political movement set up in the wake of 2011 unrest to represent a cross-section of the younger generation - said it was time to end the violence.
Yacoub Al Slaise said that also meant people should understand the difference between peaceful protests and criminal behaviour.
"Sitting on the side without taking any action will not lead to any political solution," he said.
"All groups across the board should condemn violence and stop supporting anyone who incites such acts - and clearly understand what 'peaceful protest' and 'right to assembly' mean."
The GDN reported on March 9 that Bahrain's police are 116 times more likely to die in the line of duty than they are in the UK.
The statistics were based on the per capita death rate of serving officers over the last three years.
Meanwhile, a report released last month by the Human Rights Affairs Ministry revealed police seized a total of 154,816 weapons from violent anti-government groups and 35,914 Molotov cocktails from 2011 to the end of last year.
It added there had been 11,195 acts of arson, 2,298 incidents of damage to public and private property and 14,205 blocking of roads in the same period.
The statistics also documented a total of 36,774 security violations, 25,725 attacks on police resulting in 2,080 injuries and eight deaths, while 2,204 police patrol jeeps were damaged. Three policemen were killed on March 3 in Daih by a homemade explosive, which was detonated as officers dispersed rioters who attacked them following a funeral procession. - TradeArabia News Service