Bahrain police set off massive manhunt for fugitives

Thugs ambush vehicle transporting three detainees on the way to court
  • By Habib Toumi, Bureau Chief

Manama: Police in Bahrain have arrested three men who had escaped in an attack on the vehicle transporting them to a court.
Citizens helped in the arrest of the fugitives as the police set off the massive search operation, said Major-General Tariq Hassan Al Hassan, the Public Security Chief.
“The security forces had launched a manhunt to track down the thugs who laid an ambush and bumped their cars into a vehicle that was taking some Dry Dock detainees involved in security-related cases to court and helped them escape,” he said in a statement.
“Police have also tracked down and arrested an accomplice who laid the ambush and help the detainees escape.”
The men were to face trial in the court for their alleged involvement in an attack on a police station in the town of Sitra, south of the capital Manama.
The attack on the police vehicle occurred early on Sunday morning, minutes after it left the Dry Dock detention centre near Hidd, a small coastal town on the island of Muharraq.
Reports said that the attackers who wore masks and carried iron rods and sticks used two vehicles to block the police minibus and help the detainees escape.
The attackers in their bid to flee the scene stormed a nearby school as they made their way away from the main highway and into residential areas.
They reportedly attacked a student before the school guards chased them away. Two people, a fugitive and an attacker, were arrested as they tried to hide on the top of a building, witnesses in Hidd said.
The police are now searching for the other fugitives and three outlaws who had been identified to bring them to justice to face charges, Al Hassan said.
“An inquiry has been launched to investigate the circumstances of the detainees’ escape and assess any shortcomings and laxity for necessary measures to be taken,” he said.
Al Hassan paid tribute to citizens and residents for helping the police and urged the public to report any information on the fugitives by calling a hotline.
As the drama unfolded on the roads and in the school, concerned parents expressed anger and called for stringent action to help keep the area “safe and peaceful.”
The lawmaker representing the area in parliament, Sameer Khadim, called upon the interior ministry to launch an investigation and determine responsibilities.
He said that the town could not tolerate the attacks on schools and assault on students and that residents had become very concerned about the situation.
“The ministry should now contemplate ways to move the Dry Dock detention centre away from the town to another area where there are no residents,” he said. “This is a very dangerous development and the whole matter should not be taken lightly. The residents of Hidd will look after the security of their homes, properties and areas as part of the community partnership to preserve security,” he said.