Last updated: 21 October, 2012

Bahrain arrests 7 after police bomb death

Bahrain on Sunday announced the arrest of seven people suspected of being responsible for a roadside bombing that killed a policeman during clashes with protesters in a Shiite village.

The seven suspects in the attack, which took place amid violence overnight on Thursday, were referred to the public prosecutor, a statement from the Information Affairs Authority said.

The search continued for others suspected of involvement in the attack in which an improvised explosive device was used in the Shiite village of Akar, south of Manama, the statement added. A second police officer was wounded in the attack.

Protests in Shiite villages late on Thursday took place after a call by an Internet-based group that wants to topple the minority Sunni Al-Khalifa monarchy.

“Security measures put in place in Akar in the form of checkpoints are aimed at verifying the IDs of those entering and leaving the village. This is part of ongoing efforts to search for a number of wanted suspects,” a police chief said on Saturday.

The opposition, however, condemned what it called a “siege” of the village. A statement from Al-Wefaq, the main Shiite opposition formation, said police denied entry to activists and doctors on Sunday.

Ten opposition groups and NGOs in a message urged United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon to intervene and “lift the siege on Akar.”

The message, delivered to the UN office in Manama and quoted in an Al-Wefaq statement, said security forces were denying the village medical aid for the third consecutive day.

Regular unrest and demonstrations have shaken Bahrain since it crushed Shiite-led popular protests in March last year. The kingdom came under strong criticism from international rights groups over the deadly crackdown.

According to the International Federation for Human Rights, a total of 80 people have been killed in Bahrain since the violence began on February 14, 2011.

Bahrain, home to the US Fifth Fleet and strategically situated across the Gulf from Shiite Iran, has continued to see sporadic demonstrations, mostly outside the capital Manama.