How many ‘Musawwaras’ are there in the Kingdom?


Al-Watan daily

Finally, the Musawwara district in Al-Qatif is clean now that the authorities have eliminated all terrorists. The courageous security officers did a great job that should have been done over a decade ago. In fact, concerned authorities issued a decision to remove and redevelop the district more than 10 years ago. This district is known for its narrow alleys that make it difficult for ambulances, firefighting trucks and even police cars to enter. Moreover, it is an unplanned district. It is used to hide weapons and drugs and even terrorists and fugitives.

Al-Qatif residents have suffered because of the actions of terrorists who were hiding in the Musawwara area. Some murders remain unsolved as the killers have not been found and may have hidden in the narrow streets of the neighborhood. Several assassins and kidnappers have used the district as a safe haven carrying out assassinations and kidnappings.

When the Dammam Municipality wanted to redevelop the neighborhood, many of the residents were against this decision and the municipality put it on hold for a while. The terrorists took advantage of the situation and turned the neighborhood into a safe haven. They committed crimes then hid in Musawwara and other similar neighborhoods.

The security officers have now cleaned the neighborhood and work is undergoing to pay residents compensation for the expropriation of their property. The question is: How many Musawarra-like neighborhoods are there in the country? All big cities have similar neighborhoods where police cars cannot enter, not because of narrow alleys but because of high risks. These neighborhoods have become drug- and crime-infested dens and safe havens for fugitives and undocumented workers and in some cases wanted terrorists or “sleeping cells”. Simply put, they are time bombs that can go off at any minute. The faster the authorities redevelop them, the better.

A regulation for unplanned areas was issued a long time ago, which gives property owners three options: financial compensation, a substitute house in another location or shares in the development company equal to the value of their property. Municipalities should start assigning development companies to remove these neighborhoods and provide people compensation. Prevention is better than cure.