Kuwait passes new security law

Kuwait's parliament has passed a law giving police wide powers to search and seize illegal weapons to tackle a wave of al-Qaida-linked violence, deputies said.

    The Gulf state has been rocked of late by a rash of gun battles

    Kuwaiti security forces on Monday killed five suspected al-Qaida members and captured three others, including a suspected leader, marking an escalation in the fight between authorities and the group bent on destabilising the oil-rich US ally.

       

    "Parliament unanimously passed this law on weapons collection, which is valid for two years," one lawmaker, Abd Allah al-Rumi, said.

       

    After an upsurge in violence over the past month, a government draft was rushed through parliament procedures that often take months.

     

    Past legislation

     

    Kuwait introduced similar legislation in 1992 to deal with a proliferation of arms since the 1990-91 Iraqi occupation of the Gulf Arab state.

     

    But parliament rejected an extension of that law in 1994, saying possession of weapons was a right.

       

     

    "Parliament unanimously passed this law on weapons collection, which is valid for
    two years"

    Abd Allah al-Rumi,
    Kuwaiti legislator

    Kuwait, which controls a tenth of global oil reserves, has stepped up security around oil installations after an attempt by fighters to launch an attack near the country's largest oil refinery and a US military camp.

       

    Last week, US and British embassies warned of more attacks in Kuwait, which rounded up suspected al-Qaida fighters during raids after two officers and two armed men were killed in clashes earlier in January.

       

    Kuwait, a transit route for foreign troops into Iraq, was a launch pad for the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. The Kuwaiti government has cracked down on Islamists opposed to the presence of some 30,000 US troops in the country.

    SOURCE: Reuters


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