Tough action seen as pilgrims cross border without entry stamps – Heads to roll: Al-Fahad

KUWAIT CITY, Feb 13: Security operatives on duty at post “C” at Abdali Border last Friday received two buses bearing Bahraini number plates coming from spiritual sanctuaries in Iraq. They completed procedures for passengers in one of the buses but they did not put necessary stamps on the passports of passengers in the second bus, reports Al-Seyassah daily.

A source said the incident was unprecedented, complicated and risky to Kuwaiti security, as Abdali and Nuwaiseeb borders never experienced such a serious security lapse prior to the Friday scenario. He said the incident puts question mark on the method of security procedures implemented at Kuwaiti land borders. He explained the buses entered the country through Nuwaiseeb border, and some officers detected that a large number of passengers did not have their passports stamped.

The situation is considered a serious security lapse and violation of the Constitution. He revealed retroactive documentation of the passengers was later done based on directives from the Deputy Director General for Borders Colonel Ali Al-Bannai. He stated the top official resorted to exceptional procedures without any recourse to the Director General Brigadier Eyad Al-Haddad who was not even aware of the incident as at that time.

The source clarified the passengers were not wanted for any criminal or civil cases. Neither did they have any link with outlawed organizations or groups in Iraq. It was clear they were pilgrims returning home from religious sanctuaries. It has been revealed the Undersecretary of Ministry of Interior Lt. General Sulaiman Fahad Al-Fahad has decided to take disciplinary action against the concerned officials. The punitive measures attract 25 days detention in guard rooms for military personnel and deduction of 20 days’ pay from salaries of civilians among them. However, the measures were not extended to the director and his deputy.

Consequently, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Sheikh Khalid Al-Jarrah reportedly held a meeting with the Assistant Undersecretary for Border Affairs Major General Mansour Al-Awadhi and Director General of Land Border Affairs Brigadier Eyad Al-Haddad.

The minister has since ordered a comprehensive investigation of the matter, adding there are indications Al-Haddad will be retired and Al- Bannai put on trial. He affirmed the case will not be swept under the carpet. Therefore, everybody involved will be dealt with accordingly.

There are indications that some lawmakers have been mounting pressure to close the file and repeal the punishments that have been issued or about to be issued against the affected military personnel and civilians. They regarded the issue as a mere administrative error!

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