Calm restored in Qatraneh

AMMAN – Calm was restored in the Qatraneh area on Sunday following one day of riots during which tribesmen blocked the Desert Highway in protest against what they claim as their lands allegedly sold to investors by authorities.

Meanwhile, deputies formed a committee to investigate records of the registration of state-owned lands in the names of former officials, companies and investors.

Members of the Hajaya tribe living in the Qatraneh area, some 90km south of Amman, started a peaceful demonstration on Saturday that soon afterwards turned into riots and clashes with security forces who intervened and were able to reopen the vital road after hours of closure.

“Qatraneh is completely calm now with no signs of tension whatsoever,” Southern Badia MP Hamad Hajaya said yesterday.

Hajaya, who said he and other tribal leaders have exerted “tremendous efforts” to end the riot, explained that some parties took advantage of the situation and turned the protest, which was planned to be peaceful, into a violent one.

“All in all, what happened should not have happened,” Hajaya told The Jordan Times over the phone yesterday, denouncing the act of blocking the vital highway.

He explained that protesters were not demanding “tribal fronts” or “wajihat”, which are grazing lands that the state allowed bedouins to use, but they wanted the lands bordering Qatraneh, Hassa and Sultaneh regions in the south that people have been cultivating for decades.

“These lands were sold to investors who did nothing tangible to improve the region, and the authorities’ long negligence of people’s demands is the main cause of tension,” he charged.
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