Saudi police kill 3 Ethiopian workers in Riyadh

Saudi police kill 3 Ethiopian workers in Riyadh
# 13 November 2013 05:20 (UTC +04:00)

The clashes broke out on Tuesday in the impoverished Manfuhah neighborhood of the capital Riyadh, where thousands of African workers, mostly Ethiopians, were waiting for buses to take them to deportation centers.

"The act of killing innocent civilians is uncalled for, we condemn that," Ethiopian Foreign Ministry spokesman Dina Mufti said, adding that he had been informed about the deaths.

The Ethiopian government has called for an investigation into the killings, Mufti said.

A team has been sent to Saudi Arabia to help the Ethiopians there, he added.

On Sunday, Ethiopian Foreign Minister Tedros Adhanom condemned Saudi Arabia for its brutal crackdown on migrant workers in the kingdom.

Last week, Saudi authorities launched a visa crackdown on undocumented foreign workers, killing several people -- including one Ethiopian national -- and imprisoning many others.

"This is unacceptable. We call on the Saudi government to investigate this issue seriously. We are also happy to take our citizens, who should be treated with dignity while they are there," Adhanom said.

Riyadh has announced plans to create jobs for Saudi nationals by reducing the number of foreign workers totaling some nine million people.

Hundreds of thousands of workers have already left the kingdom amid tougher conditions for migrants.

Foreign workers cannot change jobs or leave Saudi Arabia without the permission of their sponsors, who are often Saudi companies or individuals who provide workers to businesses for profit.

Most of the sponsors confiscate the passports of the workers for the duration of their contract.

Human rights groups have criticized Saudi Arabia over the condition of migrant workers in the kingdom and called on Riyadh to abolish the sponsorship system for migrant workers.