HomeSaudi ArabiaSaudi Authorities Accused of Lethal Force to Clear Land for Neom Eco-City

Saudi Authorities Accused of Lethal Force to Clear Land for Neom Eco-City

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In a startling revelation, a former intelligence officer has alleged that Saudi authorities sanctioned the use of lethal force to evict villagers in order to make way for The Line, a key component of the Neom eco-project

 

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The Line, a futuristic desert city, is part of Saudi Arabia’s ambitious Vision 2030 strategy aimed at diversifying the kingdom’s economy away from oil.

 

According to Col Rabih Alenezi, who went into exile in the UK last year, he was instructed to clear the village of al-Khuraybah, predominantly inhabited by the Huwaitat tribe, to pave the way for The Line. 

 

Allegedly, the clearance order authorized the use of lethal force against those who resisted eviction, branding them as “rebels.”

 

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Tragically, one such individual, Abdul Rahim al-Huwaiti, was shot and killed by Saudi authorities when he protested against the eviction process. Al-Huwaiti’s death sparked outrage, with human rights organizations and the UN condemning the use of excessive force.

 

The situation escalated further as dozens of other villagers were detained for resisting evictions, with many facing terror-related charges. Shockingly, some were arrested simply for mourning al-Huwaiti’s death on social media platforms.

 

Saudi authorities have defended their actions, claiming that those affected by The Line project have been offered compensation. However, rights groups dispute this assertion, citing discrepancies between promised compensation and actual payouts.

 

The Neom project, with its flagship city, The Line, has garnered international attention and attracted investment from numerous Western companies, including several British firms. 

 

Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman has described the area where Neom is being built as a “blank canvas” for realizing his vision.

 

Despite the grand aspirations of Neom, the allegations of forced evictions and the use of lethal force have cast a dark shadow over the project. Critics argue that such heavy-handed tactics undermine the kingdom’s claims of progress and modernization.

 

In response to inquiries, both the Saudi government and Neom management have declined to comment on the specific allegations raised by Col Alenezi and others involved.

 

The Neom project has faced scrutiny before, with concerns raised about its environmental impact and displacement of local communities. 

 

However, the use of lethal force to clear land for development marks a disturbing escalation in the controversy surrounding the mega-project.

 

As international scrutiny intensifies and calls for accountability grow louder, the fate of Neom hangs in the balance. 

 

Will it be remembered as a symbol of Saudi Arabia’s bold vision for the future or as a cautionary tale of development at any cost? Only time will tell.

 

This article was created using automation and was thoroughly edited and fact-checked by one of our editorial staff members

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