Saudi Arabia has caused outrage after confirming they killed this activist after he refused to be evicted to move and make way for the Crown Prince’s megacity project.
The government confirmed that Abdul-Rahim al-Howeiti, an activist for the Howeitat had been shot dead by security forces in Al-Khuraybah in the north-western Tabuk region of Saudi Arabia, near the borders of Jordan and Israel.
The government said Al-Howeti, whose age is not reported, had “shot at security forces while holed up behind sandbags at the top of the building”.
The statement went on: “He did not respond to appeals to surrender and as a result of continued shooting and the throwing of Molotov cocktails, security forces neutralised the threat.”
The statement claimed that an arsenal of weapons which included machines guns, pistols and Molotov cocktails were found at the scene.
Images allegedly taken after the incident show bullets holes on the wall of the building where Al-Howeti was reportedly shot along with what appears to be a bloodstain on the floor.
Al-Howeti actively protested against the Neom – often styled NEOM – project ordered by Saudi Arabia’s controversial Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman as the project saw the forced displacement of his tribe from the area, using videos to spread his message on social media.
His death has been slammed, with Saudi political activist Omar bin Abdulaziz dubbing him the ‘Martyr of NEOM’ and others criticising the “thugs of Mohammad Bin Salman” for the killing.
Neom is a planned city which will stretch across the Tabuk region’s border with Jordan and will function as both a tourist destination and a ‘smart city’. The project is scheduled to be completed by 2025 and will cost an estimated 500 billion USD (400 billion GBP).
Al-Howeiti’s Howeitat tribe have lived in the area for hundreds of years and they were mentioned by T.E. Lawrence after he worked with their elders during the Great Arab Revolt in World War I.
The tribe have expressed dismay at being forced to relocate from the area where Neom is being constructed without any consultation from the Saudi authorities.
The Wall Street Journal reported in 2019 that up to 20,000 people could be forcibly removed from the area to make room for the Crown Prince’s project.
The Ananova page is created by and dedicated to professional, independent freelance journalists. It is a place for us to showcase our work. When our news is sold to our media partners, we will include the link here.