Witness of the Calamity on Ethiopians in Saudi Arabia As the last day of pardon to legalize their stay in Saudi Arabia for more than two million inhabitants of different countries came to an end, the atmosphere in all those bustling cities like Mecca, Median and Riyadh became tense.
There are thousands of Ethiopians who have entered Saudi illegally and are earning their living in different ways. But most Ethiopians can’t be able to legalize their papers in those months of pardon given by the Saudi government for different reasons. The difficult bureaucracy in the Saudi government offices and the fact that the Consulate couldn’t provide the necessary papers of the citizens to the Saudi officials in time has hampered the process.
Therefore, when the pardon month came to an end, there was a gloomy speculation that a very severe catastrophe will descend on all the Ethiopians; legal and illegal. Even those Ethiopians who have legal papers to stay and work in Saudi have expected hard times as the pardon months’ end closes in.
As the last day of the pardon months ended, many thousands of Ethiopians stayed at home and began to expect the worst. Though the Saudi government officials said that there will not be any home to home search, for Ethiopians living in Riyadh Monday night was a different affair – all through the night there was abusive home to home search where as the initial count declares two Ethiopians get killed and a lot more having severe physical injuries.
A Menfuha neighborhood in Riyadh where many Ethiopians who entered Saudi through Yemen illegally was the first target of the search and the abuses. In the coming days the number of Ethiopians died of this incident rises to five. Saudi government forces even use motor bikes and helicopters for their ‘man hunt’ outside the cities. As the Ethiopian community school closed, the images of mutilated bodies and Ethiopians who have died of gunshot began to circulate among the Ethiopian community worldwide.