Jordan reels from week of violence in Maan

The southern city has been racked by clashes after the killing of a civilian, allegedly at the hands of security forces.

Amman, Jordan – Residents of Jordan’s southern city of Maan were attempting to recover after a week of violence, sparked by the alleged killing of a civilian by security forces on Tuesday.

After reports of “relative calm” in the city, located 200km south of the capital Amman, police on Sunday fired tear gas and guns near an elementary school in the Iskan neighbourhood, reportedly searching for wanted persons.

Dozens were arrested during the raid, local residents told Al Jazeera.

Why do they have to do this in the middle of the day and terrorise school children, when they can arrest people from their homes?

by Amjadl al-Khattab, Maan parlimentarian

“Why do they have to do this in the middle of the day and terrorise school children, when they can arrest people from their homes?” Maan parliamentarian Amjadl al-Khattab asked.

The city has been racked by violent clashes, with banks and buildings set on fire, after the killing of a civilian on Tuesday, allegedly at the hands of Jordanian security officers.

Twenty-year-old Qusai al-Emam was allegedly shot dead outside his house by Jordan’s SWAT team, who were reportedly searching for “dangerous” wanted figures, according to eyewitnesses, friends and neighbours.

The government has not confirmed or denied the cause of the young man’s death, but a statement issued by the Security Department said police forces exchanged gunfire with people blocking the road during a hunt for wanted persons.

Al-Emam is the ninth person to be killed by Jordanian security forces since last year in Maan, al-Khattab alleged. 

“They adopted [a] cowboy-style state with us,” activist and lawyer Maher Kuraishan told Al Jazeera. “These people are innocent until they plead guilty. They must [turn them over] to judiciary system and not kill them.”

The Ministry of Interior Affairs did not respond to Al Jazeera’s request for comment.

However, Minister Hussein al-Majali told parliament on Sunday that the security raid in Maan was not targeting its people: “We have been in search of [a] particular 19 people… we are not targeting anyone for their religious or political beliefs.” 

Al-Majali did not specify what these people were wanted for. Residents cited theft and drug issues.

Maan, with a population of about 50,000, has the highest rates of unemployment in the kingdom at 20.6 percent, according to official figures.

Source: Al Jazeera