Last updated: 13 November, 2013

Sudanese killed in Saudi clashes with illegal migrants

Renewed clashes on Wednesday between Saudis and illegal migrants, targeted in a nationwide campaign, killed one person and wounded 17, police said.

A Sudanese died as Saudis clashed with illegal migrants in the southern Riyadh neighbourhood of Manfuhah, scene to riots over recent days, police said in a statement carried by SPA state news agency.

Illegal migrants “rioted, hurling rocks at passersby and cars,” police said, before forces intervened and “controlled” the situation.

Last week, the ultra-conservative kingdom began rounding up thousands of illegals following the expiry on November 4 of a final amnesty for them to formalise their status.

Among them are foreigners who overstayed their visas, pilgrims who have sought jobs, and migrants working under one sponsor trying to get jobs elsewhere.

Police had deployed in force in Manfuhah following clashes between Saudis and migrants, mostly reportedly African.

Three Ethiopians have been killed in clashes in the kingdom, according to their country’s foreign ministry.

Many illegal migrants living in the area turned themselves in to police to be deported.

Expatriates account for a full nine million of the oil-rich kingdom’s population of 27 million.

The lure of work, even in low-paid jobs as domestics or construction workers, has made the country a magnet for migrants from Asia as well as from poorer Arab states.

Nearly a million migrants — Bangladeshis, Filipinos, Indians, Nepalis, Pakistanis and Yemenis among them — took advantage of the amnesty to leave.

Another roughly four million were able to find employers to sponsor them.

Expatriates account for a full nine million of the oil-rich kingdom’s population of 27 million.

Despite its huge oil wealth, Saudi Arabia has a jobless rate of more than 12.5 percent among its native population, a figure the government has long sought to cut.