Tent family of 14 is evicted By sara sami Published: 13th October 2006

POLICE swooped on a makeshift home yesterday to evict a Bahraini family of 14, who claim they have been forced to live rough for seven months.They were left with their belongings piled up on the seafront at Halat Al Naeem, just off Muharraq.

A Muharraq Municipality official said the eviction was ordered because the family had set up home illegally by building their makeshift tent on public property.

Abdulla Mohammed Sbei'i put up the tent to shelter his wife Mariam Mangondato and their seven boys and five girls, aged one to 18.

They were terrified when police forced them out and tore down the tent, leaving their belongings scattered on the pavement, Mr Sbei'i said yesterday.

"My children called me in the morning and told me that the police and the municipal councillor had raided our tent and had taken most of the things that we owned," he said.

"They took our tent, the oven and even the food that my wife was cooking for Iftar.

Mr Mohammed said he was called to the police station on Wednesday night and asked why he had built a hut on public property.

"I told them that I didn't build a hut and that it was a tent, so they told me that I could leave the station," he said.

"I wasn't even told that I should remove my tent, or warned about the eviction.

"How am I supposed to feed my children now when they have taken all of our food products and plates. They even took our gas cylinder.

"They will not force me into leaving this place. I will stay here until I die because I'm a citizen of this country and it is my right to live here.

"My wife and children were terrorised by the police when they forced their way into our tent and physically kicked them out. How can they do this to people during Ramadan?"

Muharraq Municipality cleaning services follow-up director Adel Amin said the family had been evicted from the site three times before, for staying illegally on public property.

"We also had to make him leave the tent because the families in the area have complained about this issue," he said. "If we let him stay here, we will be opening a door for everyone to do this kind of thing."

The family claim they have been homeless since being evicted by the government from rented property in Hidd, in March. But council officials, members and neighbours claim Mr Sbei'i is secretly well off and is just trying to force the government to give him a home he is not entitled to.

Mr Sbei'i, a 60-year-old retired BDF employee, denies this and says he is entitled to a home after a government house he owned in Halat Al Naeem was demolished in 1987 to make way for new homes.

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